tv FBI Director Says Hes Investigating Any Links Between Trump Campaign and... CSPAN March 20, 2017 9:25pm-1:01am EDT
is a lengthy and specific process for the unmasking, that it does not inherently in and of itself endanger national security. i assume the comment is assumed to address the leaking of such information, but i have not read what you are reading, so i am not in position to comment. the entire house intelligence a committee hearing on russian interference in the 2016 election. this is five and half hours.
>> the committee will come to order. i would like to welcome our witnesses, director of the fbi, jim comey, and director of the national security agency, mike rogers. thank you, both, for being here today. before we begin, i would like to remind our members and witnesses this is an open hearing. i recognize the challenge of discussing sensitive national security issues in public, however as part of this committee's investigation into russian active measures during the 2016 election, it is critical to ensure that the public has access to credible, unclassified facts and to clear the air regarding unsubstantiated media reports. to our guests in the audience, welcome. we appreciate you being here. i also expect that the proper decorum will be observed at all times today and disruptions during today's proceedings will not be tolerated. i now will recognize myself for five minutes for the purpose of an opening statement. the putin regime has a long history of aggressive actions against other countries including the outright invasion
of two of its neighbors in recent years as well as its brutal military action in syria to defend the assad regime. but its hostile acts take many forms aside from direct military assaults. for example, the kremlin has a disinformation campaign through the rt propaganda network, which traffics in anti-american conspiracy theories. russia also has a long history of meddling in other countries election systems and launching cyberattacks on a wide range of countries and industries. the baltics and other russian neighbors have long decried these attacks. but their warnings went unheeded in far too many nations' capitals including our own. the fact that russia hacked u.s. databases comes as no shock to this committee. we have been closely monitoring russia's aggression for years, a year ago i publicly stated that our inability to predict putin's regime plans and intentions has been the biggest intelligence failure we have seen since 9/11, and that remains my view today. however, while the indications of russian measures targeting the u.s. presidential election
are deeply troubling, one benefit is already clear, it is focused wide attention on the pressing threats posed by the russian autocrat. in recent year, committee members issued repeated and forceful pleas for stronger action against russian belligerence, but the obama administration was committed to the notion against all evidence that we could reset relations with putin. and it routinely ignored our warnings. i hope today's hearing will shed light on three important focus points of the committee's investigation on russia active measures. first, what actions did russia undertake against the united states during the 2016 election campaign? and did anyone from political campaign -- a political campaign conspire in the activities? number two, were the communications of officials or
associates of any campaign subject to any kind of improper surveillance? the intelligence community has extremely strict procedures for handling information pertaining to any u.s. citizens who are subject even to incidental surveillance and this committee wants to ensure all surveillance activities have followed all relevant laws, rules and regulations. let me be clear, i've been saying this for several weeks, we know there was not a physical wiretap of trump tower. however, it is still possible that other surveillance activities were used against president trump and his associates. number three, who has leaked classified information? numerous current and former officials have leaked reportedly classified information in connection to these questions. we aim to determine who has leaked or facilitated leaks of classified information so that these individuals can be brought to justice. i hope that this committee's bipartisan investigation will result in a definitive report on the russian actions taken during the election campaign. to that end, we encourage anyone who has information about these topics to come forward and speak to the house intelligence committee. i again thank the witnesses for
helping shed light on these issues and i will recognize ranking member schiff, he's asked for 15 minutes for his opening statement, so i will go ahead and give him 15 minutes for his opening statement. mr. schiff. >> mr. chairman, i thank you and i also want to thank director comey and admiral rogers for appearing before us today as we hold the first hearing. last summer at the height of a bitterly contested and hugely consequential presidential campaign, a foreign adversarial power intervened in an effort to weaken our democracy and to influence the outcome for one candidate and against the other. that foreign adversary was, of course, russia. and it acted through its intelligence agencies and upon the direct instructions of its autocratic ruler vladimir putin in order to help donald j. trump become the 45th president of the united states. the russian active measures
campaign may have begun as early as 2015 when russian intelligence services launched a series of spear fishing attacks designed to penetrate the computers of a broad array of washington-based democratic and republican party organizations, think tanks and other entities. this continued at least through the winter of 2016. while first the hacking may have been intended solely for the collection of foreign intelligence, in mid-2016, the russians weaponized the stolen data and used platforms established by the intel services such as dc leaks and existing third party channels like wikileaks to dump the documents. the stolen documents were almost uniformly damaging to the candidate putin despised, hillary clinton. and by forcing her campaign to constantly respond to the daily drip of disclosures, releases greatly benefited donald trump's campaign. none of these facts is seriously
in question. and they're reflected in the consensus conclusion of our intelligence agencies. we'll never know whether the russian intervention was determinative in such a close election. indeed, it is unknowable in a campaign in which so many small changes could have dictated a different result. more importantly, and for the purposes of our investigation it simply does not matter. what does matter is this, the russians successfully meddled in our democracy and our intelligence agencies have concluded they will do so again. ours is not the first democracy to be attacked by the russians in this way. russian intelligence has been interfering in the internal and political affairs of european and other allies for decades. what is striking is the degree to which the russians were willing to undertake an audacious and risky action against the most powerful nation on earth. that ought to be a warning to us that if we thought the russians would not dare to so blatantly interfere in our affairs, we were wrong. and if we do not do our very best to understand how the russians accomplished this
unprecedented attack on our democracy, then what we need to do to protect ourselves in the future we will only have ourselves to blame. we know a lot about the russian operation about the way they amplified the damage, their hacking and dumping of stolen documents was causing through the use of slick propaganda like rt, the kremlin's media arm. but there is a lot we don't know. most important we do not yet know whether the russians have the help of u.s. citizens , including people associated with the trump campaign. many of the trump's campaign personnel including the president himself have ties to russia and russian interests. this is, of course, no crime. on the other hand, if the trump campaign or anyone associated with it aided or abetted the russians, it would not only be a serious crime, it would also represent one of most shocking betrayals of democracy in history. in europe, where the russians have a much longer history of political interference, they use
a variety of techniques to undermine democracy. they employed the hack and dumping of documents and propaganda as they clearly did here. but they also used bribery, blackmail, compromising material and financial entanglement in order to secure cooperation from individual citizens of targeted countries. the issue of u.s. person involvement is only one of the important matters that the chairman and i have agreed to investigate and which is memorialized in the detailed and bipartisan scope of investigation that we have signed. we'll also examine whether the intelligence community's assessment of the russian operation is supported by the raw intelligence, whether the u.s. government responded properly or missed the opportunity to stop this russian attack much earlier and whether the leak of information about michael flynn or others is indicative of a systemic problem. we have also reviewed whether there is any evidence to support president trump's claim that he was wiretapped by president obama in trump tower and found
no evidence whatsoever to support that slanderous accusation. and we hope that director comey can now put that matter permanently to rest. today most of my democratic colleagues will be exploring with the witnesses the potential involvement of u.s. persons in the russian attack on our democracy. it is not that we feel the other issues are less important, they are very important, but rather because this issue is least understood by the public. we realize, of course, that the witnesses may not be able to answer many of the questions in open session. they may or may not be willing to disclose even whether there is an investigation. but we hope to present to you directors and the public why we believe this is a matter of such gravity that it demands a thorough investigation, not only by us, as we intend to do, but by the fbi as well. let me give you a short preview of what i expect you'll be asked by our members. whether the russian active
measures campaign began is nothing more than an attempt to gather intelligence or was always intended to be more than that, we do not know. and it is one of the questions we hope to answer. but we do know this, the months of july and august 2016 appear to have been pivotal. it was at this time the russians began using the information they had stolen to help donald trump and harm hillary clinton. and so the question is, why? what was happening in july, august of last year? and were u.s. persons involved? here are some of the matters drawn from public sources alone since that is all we can discuss in this setting that concern us and we believe should concern all americans.
in early july, carter page, someone candidate trump identified as a security adviser travels on the trump campaign. while in moscow, he give a speech critical of the united states and other western countries for what he believes is a hypocritical focus on democratization and efforts to fight corruption. according to christopher steel, a british -- former british intelligence officer, who reportedly held in high regard by u.s. intelligence, russian sources tell him that page has also had a secret meeting with igor sechin. he is reported to be a former kgb agent and close friend of putin's. according to steel's russian sources, page is offered brokerage fees by sechin on a deal involving a 19% share of the company. according to reuters the sale of a 19.5% share of the company later takes place with unknown purchasers and unknown brokerage fees. also according to steel's russian sources, the campaign is offered documents damaging to hillary clinton, which the russians would publish through an outlet that gives them deniability like wikileaks. the hacked documents would be an
exchange for a trump administration policy that de-emphasizes russia's invasion of ukraine, and instead focuses on criticizing nato countries for not paying their fair share. policies which, even as recently as the president's meeting last week with angela merkel, have now presciently come to pass. paul manafort, the trump campaign manager and someone who is long on the payroll a pro-russian ukrainian interests attends the republican party convention. carter page, back from moscow, also attends the convention. according to steel, it was manafort who chose page to serve as a go between for the trump campaign and russian interests. ambassador kisslyak would later be expelled also attends the republican party convention and meets with carter page and
additional trump advisers. it was jd gordon who approved the trip to moscow. sessions would later deny meeting with russian officials during his senate confirmation hearing. just prior to the convention, the republican party platform is changed, removing a section that supports the provision of lethal defensive weapons to ukraine, an action contrary to russian interests. manafort categorically denies involvement by the trump campaign in altering the platform. but the republican party delegate who offered the language and support of providing defensive weapons to ukraine states that it was removed at the insistence of the trump campaign. later j.d. gordon admits opposing the inclusion of the provision at the time it was being debated and prior to its being removed. later in july, and after the convention, the first stolen e-mails detrimental to hillary
clinton appear on wikileaks. a hacker who goes by the moniker gucifer 2 claims responsibility. the leading cyber security firms review the evidence of the hack and conclude with high certainty that it was the work of apt 28 and apt 29 who are known to be russian intelligence services. the u.s. intelligence community also later confirms the documents were stolen by russian intelligence and gucifer two acted as a front. in late july, candidate trump praises wikileaks, says he loves them and openly appeals to the russians to hack his opponent's e-mails telling them that they will be richly rewarded by the press. on august 8, roger stone, a long time trump political adviser and self-proclaimed dirty trickster boasts in a speech he has communicated with assange, and
that more documents would be coming, including an october surprise. in the middle of august, he also communicates with the russian cutout gucifer two and offers a piece of denying his links to russian intelligence. then later, in august, stone does something truly remarkable. he predicts that john podesta's personal e-mails will soon be published. trust me, he says, it will soon be podesta's time in the barrel, #crookedhillary. in the weeks that follow, stone shows a remarkable prescience. payload coming, he predicts, and two days later, it does. wikileaks releases the first patch of podesta e-mails. the release of john podesta's e-mails would continue on a daily basis up until the election. on election day, in november, donald trump wins.
donald trump appoints one of his high profile surrogates michael flynn to be his national security adviser. michael flynn has been paid by the kremlin's propaganda outfit rt in the past, as well as another russian entity. in december, michael flynn has a sacred conversation with the russian ambassador about .anctions imposed on russia michael flynn lies about a secret conversation and the vice president unknowingly then assures the country that no such conversation ever happened. the president is informed that flynn has lied and pence has misled the country. the president does nothing. two weeks later the press reveals that flynn has lied and the president is forced to fire mr. flynn. the president then praises the man who lied, mr. flynn, and castigates the press for exposing the lie.
now, is it possible that the removal of the ukraine provision from the gop platform was a coincidence? is it a coincidence that jeff sessions failed to tell the senate about his meetings with the russian ambassador, not only at the convention, but a more private meeting in his office and at a time when the u.s. election was under attack by the russians? is it a coincidence that michael flynn would lie about a conversation he had with the same russian ambassador kislyak about the most pressing issue facing both countries at the time they spoke? the u.s. imposition of sanctions or russian hacking of our election designed to help donald trump? is it a coincidence that the russian gas company sold a 19% share after former british intelligence officer steel was told by russian sources that carter page was offered fees on a deal of just that size? is it a coincidence that steel's russian sources also affirmed that russia had stolen documents hurtful to secretary clinton that it would utilize in exchange for pro russian policies that would later come to pass?
is it a coincidence that roger stone predicted that john
podesta would be a victim of a russian hack and have his private e-mails published and did so even before mr. podesta himself was fully aware
that his private e-mails would be exposed? is it possible that all of these events and reports are completely unrelated and nothing more than an entirely unhappy coincidence? yes. it is possible. but it is also possible, maybe more than possible, that they are not coincidental, not disconnected, and not unrelated and that the russians used the same techniques to corrupt u.s. persons that they employed in europe and elsewhere. we simply don't know. not yet. and we owe it to the country to find out. director comey, what you see on the dais in front of you in the form of this small number of members and staff is all we have to commit to this investigation.
this is it. we are not supported by hundreds or thousands of agents and investigators with offices around the world. it is just us. and our senate counterparts. in addition to this investigation, we still have our day job which involves overseeing some of the largest and most important agencies in the country, agencies which, by the way, are trained to keep secrets. i point this out for two reasons, first, because we cannot do this work alone. and nor should we. we believe these issues are so important that the fbi must devote its resources to investigating each of them thoroughly. to do any less would be negligent and the protection of our country. we also need your full cooperation with our investigation so that we may have the benefit of what you know, and so that we may coordinate our efforts in the discharge of both our responsibilities. and second, i raise this because i believe that we would benefit from the work of an independent
commission, that can devote the staff and resources to this investigation that we do not have, and that can be completely removed from any political considerations. it should not be a substitute for the work that we and the intelligence committee should and must do, but as an important complement to our efforts just as was the case after 9/11. the stakes are nothing less than the future of our democracy and liberal democracy. because we're engaged in a new war of ideas, not communism versus capitalism, but authoritarianism versus democracy and representative government. and in this struggle, our adversary sees our political process as a legitimate field of battle. only by understanding what the russians did can we inoculate ourselves from russian interference we know is coming, only then can we protect our european allies who are enduring similar russian interference in their own elections. and finally, i want to say a word about our own committee investigation.
you will undoubtedly observe in the questions and comments that our members make during today's hearing that the members of both parties share a common concern over the russian attack on our democracy, but bring a different perspective on the significance of certain issues or the quantum of evidence we have seen in the earliest stages of this investigation. this is to be expected. the question most people have is whether we can really conduct this investigation in the kind of thorough and nonpartisan manner that the seriousness of the issues merit or whether the enormous political consequences of our work will make that impossible. the truth is, i don't know the answer. but i do know this, if this committee can do its work properly, if we can pursue the facts wherever they lead, unafraid to compel witnesses to testify, to hear what they have to say, to learn what we will and after exhaustive work reach a common conclusion, it would be
a tremendous public service and one that is very much in the national interest. so let us try. i thank you, mr. chairman, and i yield back. >> thank you, the gentleman yields back. with that, admiral rogers, you're recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, sir. chairman nunes, ranking member schiff and members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today on behalf of the men and women of the national security agency. i'm honored to appear besides my teammate director comey to discusrussia's acties and intentions regarding the 2016 u.s.lection and want to assure the committee that my team is doing its best to fulfill the various requests of this committee to support your ongoing investigations into this subject. over the past weeks, nsa has been working closely with the committee to provide you the information that you require for your investigation and i can assure you we will continue to do so. when we last met in january, we discussed the classified version of the january intelligence community's assessment on
assessing russian activities and intentions in the recent u.s. elections. today, more than two months after we issued the assessment, we stand by it as issued. there is no change in our confidence level on the assessment. of course, the specifics of this assessment needs to remain classified to protect sensitive sources and methods so today i will limit my discussion to information in the public domain, that of the publicly released intelligence community assessment. i hope you will understand that there are some issues i cannot discuss in an open session. nor will i be able to provide specifics in some areas. as the committee fully knows, the intelligence community has a long-standing policy of not discussing surveillance targeting information in particular cases. as to do so, it would open the door to compel further disclosures and litigation or the release of classified information. all which of would be harmful to our national security. like the committee, we are also greatly concerned about leaks of
classified information as they can reveal the sources and methods we employ to provide intelligence to american policymakers and war fighters and generate advantage for our nation while protecting citizens and interests and their privacy. i also want to assure the committee that we take very seriously that obligation to protect u.s. persons' privacy. this applies to all stages of intelligence but i would like to emphasize one area in particular, the dissemination of u.s. person information. we at nsa have strict procedures in place to make sure that our reporting and the contents of our reporting are disseminated only to those that have strict need to know for valid purposes. which primarily means in support of the development of foreign policy and to protect national security. i do want to specifically mention that among the collection of authorities we have to target foreign actors in foreign spaces, fisa section 702
and executive order 12333 have been instrumental in our ability to produce the intelligence made available to the committee and others in gathering the facts of foreign activity in this election cycle. it would be difficult to overstate the breadth and scale of malicious cyberactivity occurring today. our adversaries including nation states have not rested in trying to penetrate government systems, steal our private industries intellectual property and make even greater strides towards the development and achievement of cyberattack capabilities. we have a hard working and dedicated team at nsa that works every day to generate insights on this activity and to thwart its effectiveness. but cyberdefense is a team sport, and one of nsa's strongest partners in this effort is director comey's team at the fbi. i'm glad to be able to describe here today how we are working together to help protect the nation and our allies to include providing a better understanding of russian intentions and
capabilities. in light of the assessment and findings, i welcome your investigation into overall russian activities targeting the previous u.s. elections. nsa continues to employ rigorous analytic standards, applying them in every aspect of our intelligence reporting, our analysts have consistently proven to be reliable and thorough in their technical and analytic efforts and providing our policymakers and war fighters with signet ammunition to make informed decisions to protect our nation's freedom and ensure the safety of its ensure the safety of its citizens. they are continuing to monitor for additional reflections of systems and friends and allies around the world to share that information with our ic colleagues and foreign counterparts and produce unbiased, unprejudiced and timely reporting of signet facts in their entirety. i look forward to your questions.
thank you, sir. >> thank you, admiral rogers. director comey, you're recognized for five minutes. >> mr. chairman, ranking member schiff, members of the committee, thank you for including me in today's hearing. i'm honored to be here representing the people of the fbi. i hope we have shown you through our actions and our words how much we at the fbi value your oversight of our work and how much we respect your responsibility to investigate those things that are important to the american people. thank you for showing that both are being taken very seriously. as you know, our practice is not to confirm the existence of ongoing investigations. especially those investigations that involve classified matters. but, in usual circumstances, where it is in the public interest, it may be appropriate to do so as justice department policies recognize. this is one of those circumstances. i have been authorized by the department of justice to confirm that the fbi as part of our counterintelligence mission is
investigating the russian government's efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. and that includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the trump campaign and the russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and russia's efforts. as with any counterintelligence investigation, this will also include an assessment of whether any crimes were committed. because it is an open and ongoing investigation, and it is classified, i cannot say more about what we're doing and whose conduct we're examining. at the request of congressional leaders, we have taken the extraordinary step in coordination with the department of justice of briefing this congress' leaders including the leaders of this committee in a classified setting in detail about the investigation. but i can't go into those details here.
i know that is extremely frustrating to some folks, but it is the way it has to be for reasons that i hope you and the american people can understand, the fbi is very careful in how we handle information about our cases, and about the people we are investigating. we are also very careful about the way we handle information that may be of interest to our foreign adversaries. both of those interests are at issue in a counterintelligence investigation. please don't draw any conclusions from the fact that i may not be able to comment on certain topics. i know speculating is part of human nature, but it really isn't fair to draw conclusions simply because i say that i can't comment. some folks may want to make comparisons to past instances where the department of justice and the fbi have spoken about the details of some investigations. but please keep in mind that
those involve the details of completed investigations. our ability to share details with the congress and the american people is limited when those investigations are still open, which i hope makes sense. we need to protect people's privacy. we need to make sure we don't give other people clues as to where we are going. we need to make sure we don't give information to our foreign adversaries about what we know or don't know. we just cannot do our work well or fairly if we start talking about it while we're doing it. so we will try very, very hard to avoid that as we always do. this work is very complex, and there is no way for me to give you a timetable as to when it will be done. we approach this work in an open minded, independent way, and our expert investigators will conclude that work as quickly as they can, but they will always do it well no matter how long that takes. i can promise you we will follow the facts wherever they lead.
and i want to underscore something my friend mike rogers said. leaks of classified information are serious, serious federal crimes for a reason, they should be investigated and where possible prosecuted in a way that reflects that seriousness so that people understand it simply can not be tolerated. and i look forward to taking your questions. rep. nunes: thank you, director comey. admiral rogers, i first want to go to you. on january 6, 2017, intelligence community assessment assessing russian activities and intentions in recent u.s. elections stated that the types of systems russian actors targeted or compromise were not involved in vote tallying. so my question as of today, admiral rogers, do you have any evidence that russian cyber actors changed vote tallies in the state of michigan?
adm. rogers: no, i do not, but i would highlight we are foreign intelligence organization, not a domestic intelligence organization, so it is fair to say we are not the best organization to provide a more complete answer. rep. nunes: the state of pennsylvania? adm. rogers: no, sir. rep. nunes: state of wisconsin? adm. rogers: no, sir. rep. nunes: so you have no intelligence that suggests or evidence that suggests any votes were changed? adm. rogers: nothing generated by the national security agency, sir. rep. nunes: director comey, do you have any evidence that the votes were changed in the states i mentioned to admiral rogers? mr. comey: no. rep. nunes: thank you. admiral rogers, i know that there is a leak of information regarding director clapper and former secretary of defense carter were looking at relieving you of your duty here are you aware of those stories?
adm. rogers: i'm aware of media reporting of that. rep. nunes: those stories were leaked as soon as you visited with president-elect trump, is that correct? adm. rogers: yes, interviewing with the trump administration for a position, which i did. rep. nunes: did that impact the assessment you did for the committee? adm. rogers: no, if i spend time worrying about unsourced media reporting i would never get work done. rep. nunes: thank you, admiral. director comey, i'm extending concerned about the illegal leaks you referenced in your testimony. just for the record, i want to get this on the record. does the disclosure of unauthorized classified information to the rest violate a section of the espionage act that criminalizes properly accessing from handling, or
transmitting national defense information? mr. comey: yes. rep. nunes: what an unauthorized disclosure of fisa to the rest violate a section of the espionage act that criminalizes disclosure of information concerning the communication of intelligence activities of the united states? mr. comey: yes come in addition to being a breach of our trust with the fisa court that oversees these of those authorities. rep. nunes: thank you, director. at this time i will yield to mr. rooney. >> thanks. i would like to convey my thanks to the many men and women of the nsa for the dedication to keeping our country safe. i want to talk about the recent media stories that may have led to confusion in the public about
what the nsa is and is not legally collecting -- the safeguards the nsa has put in place to protect personal data. i would like to clarify is the chairman of the subcommittee on the nsa, i recently got to meet your deputy admiral last week out at the nsa. we visited and spoke of some of these things, and what we can talk about today publicly, if you can go into -- if you can't, you can't -- but i think this is important for the people in the room and listening outside understand. is it true that the nsa would need a court order based on probable cause to conduct electronic surveillance on a u.s. person inside the united states? adm. rogers: yes, sir. rep. rooney: just to be clear, the section of fisa expiring later this year, the 702, cannot be used to target u.s. persons in the united states, is that correct? adm. rogers: yes, sir. rep. rooney: section 702 focuses on non-us persons outside the
united states, correct? adm. rogers: yes, sir. rep. rooney: do you believe section 702 is important and valuable for u.s. national security? adm. rogers: yes, sir. rep. rooney: so it is safe to say that without having this tool it would be a threat to our national security? adm. rogers: it would impact my ability to generate the inside this nation needs. rep. rooney: in the media there is a lot of reporting about something called incidental collection. can you talk about what incidental collection is? adm. rogers: incidental collection is when we are targeting a valid foreign target, for example, and in the course of the course of that targeting we learned that a reference to a u.s. person or a u.s. person appears as part of the conversation. rep. rooney: and what do you do when something like that happens, if there is a u.s. person part of an incidental
collection? what kind of safeguards are put in place -- adm. rogers: it depends specifically on the legal authority we are using, but in broad terms, it varies a little bit by the specific authority we are using to connect the collection. step back and we ask ourselves, are we dealing with u.s. persons? is there something we did not expect to encounter that we have now encountered? we ask ourselves whether we believe it is a u.s. person, if we come to a conclusion it is u.s. person, we ask ourselves, are we listening to criminal activity, are we seeing something of imminent threat of danger? or are we just receiving something that has nothing to do with any of our valid collection authority? based on that we take a series of actions. in some case be just purge the collection and make no reporting on it and not retain the data. incidental collection that has no intelligence value and it wasn't the purpose of what we were doing.
in some places, if we believe there is intelligence value, for example, whether it is a reference to a u.s. person as an example, in our reporting, we will mask the identity of the individual. we use a phrase like u.s. person 1 or u.s. person 2. i remind everyone that for our purposes, "u.s. person" is defined very broadly. it is not just u.s. citizen. that is u.s. corporation, aircraft registered in the united states, internet protocol address, for example. it is not just a particular individual, if that makes sense. the term for us is much broader because it is designed to ensure protections of u.s. persons. rep. rooney: procedures and protections you talked about are required and approved by the fisa court, is that correct? adm. rogers: yes, sir, and the attorney general. rep. rooney: you mentioned in your opening statement that for that kind of information to be disseminated outside your agency and the nsa, that dissemination would be strictly on i need to know basis.
is that correct? adm. rogers: we use 2 criteria -- is there a need to know, and the person or group acting for the identification is there a valid need to know in the course of official duties? rep. rooney: what would that be? adm. rogers: it could be another element within the intelligence community, another element within nsa, a military customer reading some of our reporting, it could be a policy maker. i apologize, there was one other point i wanted to make but i lost the thread in my mind. rep. rooney: let's get back to masking briefly. you spoke about masking, and trying to keep a u.s. person's identity concealed.
when it is disseminated, we often talk about the intelligence community about the exceptions to how -- if somebody is masked, how you unmask them. what with the exceptions to that masking be before it is disseminated? adm. rogers: we use 2 criteria, the need to know, and the second part is the identification necessary to understand intelligence value that the report is designed to generate? those are the two criteria we use. rep. rooney: is that identity of a u.s. person communicating with the foreign target -- is that ordinarily disseminated in a masked or unmasked form? adm. rogers: no, if we make the decision there is intelligence value regarding the report, it is normally disseminated in a masked form. again, as i said to more user reference, u.s. person one, u.s. person 2. if you look at the total thread of our reporting, it is an incredibly small subset, in my experience, of our total reporting.
rep. rooney: who normally in the nsa makes the decision to unmask? adm. rogers: there are 20 individuals including myself i've delegated this authority to unmask requests. rep. rooney: and does the level of approval change depending on the reason for unmasking? if it was something or somebody, say, really important come with that matter -- adm. rogers: not necessarily, but by custom and tradition at times requests will be pushed to the senior -- i am the senior most of the 20 individuals -- requests will be pushed to my level and was saying, hey, we just want to make sure you are comfortable with this. rep. rooney: 20 people -- what procedures or safeguards are put in place to make sure that those 20 people are not unmasking wrongly? adm. rogers: there are two specific training, there are specific controls in place in terms of our ability to disseminate information out of the database associated with u.s. persons.
rep. rooney: ok, let's run to the exceptions quickly through the following hypothetical -- the nsa collects the communication where the target under surveillance is talking to a u.s. person. how does the nsa determine whether disseminating the u.s. person information is necessary to understanding the foreign intelligence or assess its importance? adm. rogers: first of all, try to understand the nature of the conversation. is this truly something that involves intelligence or national security applications for the united states, or is this very normal and reasonable conversations come in which case we have no desire, not applicable to our mission, and in that case we will purge the data. we ask ourselves is their criminal activity involved, is there potential threat or harm to u.s. individuals being discussed in the conversations -- rep. rooney: if there was criminal activity involved, what would you do then? adm. rogers: if we decide it is criminal activity we disseminate information.
in some cases i also will generate a signed letter under my signature in specific cases to the department of justice highlighting that what we think we have this potential criminal activity, but because we are not law enforcement, we are justice organization, we are not in a place to make that determination. rep. rooney: hypothetically, if the nsa obtained that communication of general flynn with the surveillance target illegally, would you explain how general flynn's identity could be unmasked based on the exceptions we discussed? adm. rogers: sir, i will not discuss even hypotheticals about individuals. i'm sorry. rep. rooney: if i could make reference to eight "washington post" article from february 9 -- let me say what it is a man will ask if you have read it or seen it.
"national security under michael flynn privately discussed u.s. sections against russia with of the country's ambassador to the united states during the month before president trump took office, contrary to public assertions by trump officials current and former u.s. officials said." the article goes on to say that "nine current or former officials who were in senior positions, multiple agencies, at the time of the call spoke under the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters." did you read this article? adm. rogers: i apologize, sir, it is not necessarily ring a bell. i've seen plenty of media reporting but i'm not going to comment on specifics. rep. rooney: just basically, under the breath of that article, when we hear that 9 former or current officials had
spoken to the press under the condition of anonymity, and we heard director comey and the chairman speak of this as a potential crime, serious crime under the espionage act, assuming this article is accurate, who would be in a position to request the unmasking of general flynn's identity? would that be you? adm. rogers: i would have the authority to do that. rep. rooney: who else would? adm. rogers: 19 other individuals. rep. rooney: would that include director comey? adm. rogers: i'm talking about -- in the national security agency, and we are talking about nsa -- rep. rooney: but would people like director comey also be able to request that? and the attorney general, director clapper, those type of people also on this list? adm. rogers: again, i'm not going to -- in general, yes -- not going to talk about specific stuff, but individual hypothetical scenarios.
rep. rooney: here is what i am trying to get out. if what we're talking about is a serious crime, as it has been alleged, in your opinion, would leaking of a u.s. person who has been unmasked and disseminated by intelligence community officials, would that leaking to the press hurt or help our ability to connect national security -- adm. rogers: hurt. rep. rooney: ok, if it hurts, this leak, through the 702 tool, which we all agree is vital, or at least you and i agree to that, do you think that leak threatens our national security? if it is a crime and if it is unveiling a masked person, and this tool is so important that they could potentially jeopardize this tool when we have to try to reauthorize it in a few months, if this is used against the ability of us to reauthorize this tool and we cannot get it done because whoever did this leak, 9 people
who did this leak, creates such us in our legislative process or whatever that they don't feel confident a u.s. person under the 702 program can be masked successfully and not leaked to the press, doesn't that leak hurt our national security? adm. rogers: yes, sir. rep. rooney: can you think of any reason why somebody would want to leave the identity of a masked person? adm. rogers: no, sir. i have raised this directly with my own workforce over the course of the last few months to remind everyone part of the ethics of our profession, not just the
legal requirements, but the ethics of our profession, is intelligence professionals do not engage in this activity. i reminded the men and women of the national security agency that if i become aware of any such conduct, there is no place for you on this team. unacceptable to the nation. rep. rooney: well, i think that as we move forward, obviously i think that what you are speaking of is this sacred trust that the intelligence community has with the american people and the people representing them here on this dais. and if we -- i think it is vital that for those who break that sacred trust, if they are not held accountable, whether by the nsa internally or by the fbi through conviction or investigations/prosecution and conviction through the attorney general's office, of that crime, it is difficult for us to keep that sacred trust to know that what we are doing is valid and what we are doing has no nefarious motivations, and for us to be able to keep america safe without violating the constitutional protections that
we all enjoy. mr. chairman, i'm not sure how much more time i have left. adm. rogers: congress may come can i make one comment if i could? i want to remind everyone in general that fisa collection on targets in the united states has nothing to do with 702. i just want to make sure we're not confusing the two things here. 702's collection overseas against non-us persons. rep. rooney: right, and what we're talking about here is incidentally if a u.s. person is talking to a foreign person that we are listening to, whether or not that person -- adm. rogers: i just want to make sure we have context, that's all. rep. rooney: and whether or not somebody in the intelligence community we have trust in is going to leak that information to the press for whatever reason. i'm not even going to get into the gratuitous what that reason may be, but it is really going to hurt the people on this committee and you on the intelligence community when we
try to retain this tool this year and try to convince some of our colleagues that this is really important for national security, when somebody in the intelligence community says, you know what, to hell with it, i'm going to release this person's name because i'm going to get some thing out of it. we are going to be hurt by that if we can't reauthorize this tool. do you agree with that? adm. rogers: yes, sir. rep. rooney: do i have enough time to talk about the letter the committee sent? the committee sent you on march 15 a letter -- admiral rogers and director comey. have you had a chance to look at this letter? adm. rogers: yes, sir. in fact i gave you a reply on the 17th. rep. rooney: just real quickly, can you give us a sense of how many identities were disseminated by the nsa from june 16 to june -- adm. rogers: no, sir, in the process of compiling the
information i will provided to the committee and until that work is done -- rep. rooney: can you tell us whether the disseminations were people involved with presidential candidates donald trump and hillary clinton and their associates? adm. rogers: i won't answer until i complete the research. rep. rooney: assuming the dissemination unmasked persons related to the trump or clinton campaigns, with that have been a reason for such unmasking? adm. rogers: i apologize, i don't truly understand the question. rep. rooney: let me just move on to the next one. along those lines, if the nsa had wanted to disseminate unmasked u.s. persons' information related to the presidential campaign, who in the nsa would approve such disseminations? adm. rogers: again, one of the 20, and i outlined that in my response to the committee met the 20 specific individuals. rep. rooney: thank you, i appreciate your answers and i
look forward to working with you on the subcommittee moving forward, and mr. chairman, i yield back. rep. nunes: mr. gowdy is recognized. rep. gowdy: fisa and other similar programs have been described this money is vital, political, and indispensable to our national security, and many of us on both sides of the aisle believe fisa and similar counterterrorism programs prevent terrorist attacks and save american lives. but fisa and other surveillance programs are intentionally designed to preserve the privacy of u.s. citizens. they are intentionally designed to ensure the information is collected and used only for legitimate national security and criminal investigative purposes.
there are statutory safeguards, there are warrants based on probable cause, there is a fisa court that is involved, there are audits on the backend, and we think so highly of this material it is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in federal prison to unlawfully disseminate it. all of this was done to make sure this information gathered remains protected as it relates to u.s. citizens. the way i view it, director comey, the american people have an agreement with the government. we are going to give you the tools to keep us safe, even if it infringes on a privacy some. we are going to give you the tools, and government in return promises to safeguard the privacy of u.s. citizens. and when that deal is broken, it jeopardizes american trust in these surveillance programs.
so let me ask you, do you agree fisa is critical to our national security? mr. comey: i do. rep. gowdy: do you agree that programs like fisa were intentionally designed to safeguard the identity of u.s. persons? mr. comey: yes. there are other important elements of it, but that is the primary goal, i believe. rep. gowdy: it wasn't an afterthought, it wasn't an accident. these are intentional safeguards to protect u.s. citizens, is that correct? mr. comey: correct. rep. gowdy: do you agree much of what is learned from these programs is classified or otherwise legally protected? mr. comey: all fisa applications reviewed by the court, collection by us pursuant to our fisa authority, is classified. rep. gowdy: the dissemination of which is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison? mr. comey: unauthorized dissemination.
rep. gowdy: unauthorized dissemination of classified or otherwise legally protected material punishable by a felony of up to 10 years in federal prison. mr. comey: yes, as it should be. rep. gowdy: all right. in january of this year "the washington post" reported, according to a senior u.s. government official, a named u.s. citizen -- and i will not use the name -- a named u.s. citizen phoned the russian ambassador several times on december 29. in february of this year, "the washington post" reported 9 -- 9 current and former officials who were in a senior positions at multiple agencies at the time of the calls spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters and that officials began poring over intelligence reports, intercepted communications and diplomatic cables.
in february the new york times reported a u.s. citizen discussed sanctions with the resin ambassador in a phone call. according to officials who have seen a transcript. a transcript of a wiretapped conversation. year,ruary of this reporting on a phone call involving a u.s. citizen. including significant of phone records, intercepted communications, and reported the nsa captured calls and then asked the fbi to collect as much information as possible. my time is up so i will say
the lawt it was against to disseminate classified information. is it? crime i don'tious want in any circumstance to compound a criminal act by confirming it was classified. in general it is a serious crime. >> i want to put to rest several claims the president and set about his predecessor. mr. schiff: i want to talk about the allegations the president -- by the president.
first the president claimed, terrible, just found out obama had my wires tapped in trump tower, nothing found. was the president's statement that obama had his wires tapped in trump tow aerotrue statement? -- tower a true statement? mr. comey: with respect to the president's tweeted, i have no information that supports those tweets and we have looked carefully inside the f.b.i. the department of justice has asked me to share with you that the answer is the same for the department of justice in all its components, the department has no information that supports those tweets. mr. schiff: the president accused president obama of engaging in mccarthyism. as you understand mccarthyism, do you think they were involved in such conduct? mr. comey: i'm not going to try to characterize the tweets themselves. mr. schiff: were you engaged in mccarthyism, mr. comey?
mr. comey: i try very hard not to engage in isms of any kind, including mccarthyism. mr. schiff: turned down by a court earlier a new low, unquote. can you answer the president's question, would it legal for president obama to have ordered a wiretap of donald trump? >> i will not respond to the tweets themselves. is a statutory framework in the united states under which courts grant permission for electronic surveillance in a criminal or national security case based on a showing of probable cause, overseeing the rigorous process that involves all three branches of government. it is what we've have lived with since the 1970's. that is how it works. no individual new united states can direct electronic
surveillance of anyone. it has to go through an application process and a judge who makes the order. notresident obama could unilaterally order a wiretap of anyone? >> no president could. representative schiff: mr. trump also asserted in that tweet that the application was turned down by a court. was there a request made to wiretap donald trump turned down by a court? director comey: i cannot talk about anything that relates to the fisa process in an open setting. representative schiff: the president stated, "i bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that president obama was tapping my phones in october just prior to the election." director comey, you are a good lawyer.
can you make out a great case that obama wiretapped mr. trump's phones before the election? director comey: we do not have any information that supports those tweets. representative schiff: in my view, you would be not a great, but a very unethical lawyer to make that case. finally, the president made the accusation -- how low has president obama gone to tap my phones during the sacred election process? this is nixon, watergate. bad or sick guy. trump has compared obama to nixon. what was the offense by nixon and his operatives during watergate? a lot of people watching may not understand what watergate was about. what was the gravement of that offense? director comey: as i recall, i was a kid, and i studied it, the gravement was an abuse of power including break-ins, unlawful
wiretaps, obstruction of justice, sort of the cycle of criminal conduct. representative schiff: there was a break-in of the democratic headquarters by the operatives of the president? director comey: that is how it began. representative schiff: and also the cover-up by the president. director comey: yes, as i said. representative schiff: you have said there has been no evidence of an illegal wiretap by the president obama. is that right? director comey: the fbi and the department of justice have no information to support those tweets. representative schiff: but there is evidence of a break-in of the democratic headquarters by a foreign power using cyber means? director comey: yes, there was. the report said the russian intelligence services hacked into a number of enterprises in united states, including the
-- -- certainly to cover up that they were the ones releasing it. mr. rogers, and an effort to support the president's claim that he president obama had wiretapped him, they have speculated that british intelligence wiretapped mr. trump on president obama's behalf. did you ever request your counterparts should wire trap mr. trump on behalf of mr. obama? >> no serve. nor would i. that would be against the fisa agreement that is been in effect for decades. >> those are some of our closest
intelligence partners, britain is one of them? >> yes. >> do you see any evidence that one of the made such a request? >> no. i am the same as mr. comey, i see nothing and also no evidence anyone ever asked us to do any such thing. >> that would be a violation of british law, would it not? >> yes, sir. >> our relationship with british intelligence is one of the closest we have with any foreign intelligence service, said true? >> yes, sir. >> they have called it nonsense and utterly ridiculous. would you agree? >> yes, sir. >> does it do damage to our relationship to make a baseless claim that the british participated in a conspiracy? >> i think it clearly frustrates a key ally of ours. >> and certainly would not an
dear the british intelligence services to keep order with us, would it? >> i believe the relationship is strong enough that this is something we could weather. >> but it is not helpful? no, sir. >> director rogers, president trump recently met with german chancellor of the love merkel. -- angela merkel. he suggested that something in common, that they had both been wiretapped by president obama. just statedey has that there was no evidence but the remark to merkel came up in disclosures.f i'm not going to ask you to comment on whether the chance or with the subject of any eavesdropping, but i would like to ask you if the snowden disclosures did damage with the german ally and whether the chancellor expressed her concern
at the time. >> yes, sir. >> in light of this, is it helpful with our relationship to the chancellor or with german intelligence to bring this up again in a public forum? >> it certainly complicates things but i would like to think our relationship is such that we .an keep moving forward >> that you hope our relationships with the british and german's are strong enough to withstand these? >> we need to keep working together. time, director comey, let me ask you a few questions that you may or may not be able to answer. do you know who roger stone is? generally, yes. >> are you aware he was a partner paul manafort? we are going to a place i do not want to go, which is commenting on any particular person so i do not think i should comment.
i am aware of public accounts, but i do not like to talk anymore than that. aware that he has publicly acknowledged having directly communicated with lucifer to, someone the intelligence community assessed russian of intelligence? >> i do not know whether that is accurate or not. acknowledgedne that mr. podesta's time in the barrel was coming in august of 2016, would that be prior to the public release of stolen emails of mr. podesta's? >> i believe that is the correct chronology. >> do know how mr. stone would've known that mr. podesta's emails for going to be released? >> not something i can comment on. >> do know that mr. podesta said at the time he was not even team out bring
stolen would be published? >> not something i can comment on. >> at this point, mr. chairman, i am going to yield to mr. himes. they did to the ranking member and gentlemen, thank you for being with us today. willi get my own time i have some follow-up questions but let me start with a point the chairman brought up very specifically, that there is no evidence that votes were technically changed in any of the jurisdictions he named. admiral rodgers, thank you for confirming that. am i correct that when we say "russian hacking" what we are referring to is the fact the intelligence community believes the russians penetrated the networks of the dnc of john individuals,her stole information, and then disseminated that information.
is that a fair characterization of thecan -- conclusions intelligence community? >> yes, sir. >> did the intelligence community ever do an analysis as to whether the dissemination of that information in a closely-five election had any effect? >> no. >> of course not. that is not your job. those of us who go through campaigns have a little more understanding of it. let me ask you this, was there any equivalent dissemination of adverse information stolen from the rnc or individuals associated with the trump campaign? >> no. >> thank you. director comey, and the remaining minutes here i appreciate your frankness on the topic of an ongoing investigation and appreciate
your inability to go too much further the end you went. but i do want to ask you a question to try to clear up some confusion. ans committee is engaged in investigation about links as you said, between the trump campaign and the russians, should there be any possible collusion. information that there was no evidence of collusion. this is very early in our investigation. is it fair to say you are still relatively easy -- early in your investigation? >> it is hard to say because i do not know how much longer it will take. we have been doing this investigation since late july. for a counterintelligence investigation, that is a fairly short time. >> you use the word "coordination" which to me suggests you are in fact
investigating whether there was coordination between u.s. persons and the russians. is it fair for me to his and we should not dismiss the possibility there was coordination or collusion between the russian efforts and in anersons as investigatory body? >> on can tell you is what we were investigating, which includes whether or with any collusion between the people of the trump -- andn association or russians. >> i yield the remaining time. >> thank you. so, with respect to the coordination to mr. comey, wanted to continue this line of questioning. can you say with any specificity coordination or contact you are looking at in your investigation, generally, when confronted with something like this? >> i cannot.
>> can you discuss whether or not there was any knowledge by and thep-related person russians? >> i cannot. >> so, with respect to any whetherinvestigation, the specificity of the u.s. person or otherwise, you cannot comment on any of that? >> correct. >> can you characterize what the nation of your investigation generally -- when you do an sorttigation the short -- -- can you talk a little bit about the investigation generally? >> not a whole lot. i can tell you we use our great, great people. we coordinate with our brothers and sisters in other parts of the intelligence community to see what they might know that might be useful to us. we use all of the techniques we use in all of our investigations.
i don't have that is useful to you but that is all i can say. ask how long does it usually you started in july. >> there is no "usually." it is impossible to say. >> i yield back. >> i yield by some 15 minutes then we will go back. >> thank you. doug -- director comey, you word discussing the material last time around. is there a law for four more u.s. officials to request anonymity? >> to release information? >> yes or. drugs is there a law for reporters who want to break a story? >> that is a harder question as to whether a reporter incurs criminal liability by reporting classified information. that is probably beyond my ken. the statute does use the word "published" doesn't it? i did does.
but it has been struggled with from administration to administration. >> i know a lot of people struggle with that, but you're are not aware of an exception and the current dissemination of exception for reporters? >> no. i do not think reporters and prosecutors have in my life son, though. >> there have been a lot statutes that bar this investigation for which no one has ever been prosecuted or convicted and that does not keep anyone from discussing those statutes, namely the logan act. in theory, how would reporters know a u.s. citizen made a phone call to an individual love foreign power? >> how would they know legally? if it was declassified and then discussed in a judicial proceeding or congressional hearing or something like that. >> assuming that the suspects are in play, how would they know? >> someone told him that should not tell them?
>> how would a reporter know about the existence of intercepted phone calls? >> sending. in a legitimate way, through an appropriate proceeding where there has been because of geisha, in any other way, it through when the legitimate means. >> how would they know if a transcript existed of an intercepted communication? >> same answer. the only legitimate way would be through an appropriate proceeding. the illegitimate way would be that someone told them that should not tell them. "> what does the term "mask mean in terms of surveillance? >> it is our practice approved by the fisa court of removing to names of u.s. persons protect their privacy and identity unless there are certain exceptions. so "masking" means, i will often "u.s.report that says person number one" or "u.s. two" or "u.s.
person number three." given the nature of the fbi's work, we come into contact with u.s. persons a whole lot more wen the nsa does because only conduct our operations in the united states. we collect electronic surveillance. i can find out that number but i don't know it. >> given the fact you and i agree this is critical, vital, indispensable, a similar program is coming up for reauthorization in the fall with similar had went right now, it would be nice to know the universe of people who have the power to unmask a u.s. citizen name. because that might help investigate who actually disseminated a masked u.s. citizens name was that said the number is relevant. what i hope the u.s. american people realizes the number is
important but the culture the hind it is more important. the training, the rigor, the discipline. we are obsessive about isaiah and the fbi for reasons i help make sense to this committee but we are everything that pfizer has been labeled. this is fisa, we treat this in a special way. so we can get you the number but i want to show you the culture of the nsa had to the eye around information is excessive, and i mean that in a good way. >> director,, i'm not arguing. i agree culture is important. but if there are 100 people who have the ability to unmask a previously masked name, then potential0 different sources of investigation and the smaller the number is, the easier your investigation is. so if the numbers relevant, i concede the culture is relevant. fbi, what other government
agencies have the authority to unmask a u.s. citizens name? >> i think all agencies that collect information pursuant to fisa have what are called "standard minimization which tell how they are to treat information. the nsa does, obviously the others. justice?out main >> main justice i think does. >> ok, so that is four of them. main justice, does the white house have the authority to unmask a u.s. citizen's name? >> i think others who are consumers of the products can unmask.collectors to the unmasking resides with those who collected the information. gavef mike rogers folks something, our request would go
back to who sent it. the white house can make similar requests. they do not on their own collect to they cannot on their own unmask. i >> i guess when i am getting at is you say it is vital, critical, dispensable, we both know it is a threat to the real authorization of 702 later on this fall and, oh by the way, it is also a felony punishable by 10 years. so how would you begin your investigation assuming for the sake of argument when a u.s. citizens name appears in the washington post and new york times unlawfully, where would you begin that investigation? >> i'm not going to talk about any in specific. ." t is why said "in theory >> who touched the information that ended up unlawfully in the newspaper, start with that universe and use investigate. techniques to see if you can eliminate or include people is more serious suspects. >> do know whether director
klapper knew the name of a u.s. citizen that appeared in the new york times -- washington post? >> i don't want to confirm. >> would he have access to unmask the name? i in some circumstances, sure. he is the director of national intelligence. >> would director brennan have access to an unmasked as its circumstances,e yes. >> would national security adviser susan rice have access to an unmasked citizen name? >> in general. in general. and any other national security adviser within the course of ordinary business. >> what former white house adviser ben rose have access? cards i do not know the answer. >> what former attorney general loretta lynch have access to an unmasked citizen's name? writes in general, yes, as would any attorney general. acting would include gsa
director sally yates? reince yes, sir. >> did you brief president obama -- i will just ask you. did you brief president obama on any calls involving michael flynn? >> i'm not going to get into either that particular case, that matter, or any conversations with the president. i cannot answer that. >> starcher,, there has been some speculation this morning on -- director comey, there has been some speculation this morning on motive. want tot that people know. i get that the jury always wants ?o know "why" i think there are a couple reasons why you would not have to unlawfully flown his late disseminate testified material. it was not done to help an
ongoing criminal investigation, because you already have the information, didn't you? >> i can't answer regards to this particular better? excel about in theory? is her something in reporter would have access to that the head of the fbi would not? >> i would hope not. i excel at have not, too, if this is part of our surveillance programs. i would hope you had access to everything as head of the world's premier law force agency. i would hope you had enough. so if you had it all, the motive could not open to help you because you already had it. the motive rogers, could not of been to help you because you already had it. so in the universe of possible motives for the felonious dissemination of classified material, we could roll out wanting to help the intelligence communities and the law force communities. those are two motives that are gone now. that leaves them more nefarious motives.
the investigation into the leak of classified information has not begun yet. say.n't i cannot confirm that was classified information. comey, i understand you cannot ordinarily confirm or deny did existence of an investigation but you did this morning so i think doj policy given the back pattern, would you not agree that surveillance programs that are critical, dispensable, vital to our national security, some of which are up for real authorization this fall that save american lives and prevent terrorist attacks also rise to the level of importance? vitalause programs are and links of information pursuant to court order under those programs are terrible. as i said in my opening statement, they should be taken seriously. what i do not want to do is compound what has been done in confirm something in me
newspaper. sometimes the newspaper get it right. there is a whole lot of wrong information allegedly about classified activities. we do not call them and correct them, either. that is another big challenge. we do not want to compound to will stope committed >> i understand that director comey. i am trying hard not to get due -- some of these include the word "transcript" which has a very unique use in the matters we are discussing this morning. that is a very unique use. "wiretap" has a very unique meaning. the name of a u.s. citizen who was supposed to be such a statutorily -- attacked it is no longer. that is really, really important. to the extent you can rely on the dates of either the washington post for the new york
times, we talking about february of this year when the reporting first of place. a halfare one month and or two months into something you are and i agree is incredibly important which also happens to be a felony. ims you to assure the american people. you have assured them you take it seriously. then you assure them it is going to be investigated? >> i cannot. but i hope people watching know how seriously we take things of classified information. it i do not want to confirm by saying we are investigating. i am sorry have to draw that line but that is rightly to be. >> well, i am not going to argue with you, director comey. we are going to discuss a lot of important eggs today. whether russia attempted to influence our credit process is incredibly important. whether they sought to influence
it is incredibly important. the motive behind that is incredibly important. our u.s. response, incredibly important. some of that may rise to the level of a crime. some may not. one thing you and i agree on is the felonious dissemination of classified material most crime.ely is a so, i would ask you, and i understand some of the procedures. to seekhumbly ask you authority from whomever you need to seek authority from. because i am going to finish the same west started. this is an agreement between the american people and its government. we the american people give certain powers to government to keep us safe and when those powers are misused and the motive is not criminal investigations or national security, then i will bet you my fellow citizens are rethinking their side of the equation.
it is that u.s. citizen could be them next time. it could be you. it could be me. it could be anyone. until we start seriously investigating and prosecuting congress thought was serious enough to attach a 10-your felony to. >> can i add a response? i route you, mr. gowdy. two things folks at home should note. disclosureuthorized of isaiah is an extraordinarily unusual events have been assured we will take it very seriously because our trust in the american people and the federal work ishat oversee our vital. secondly, this conversation is nothing to do with 702. looks often mix some together. 702 is about targeting non-us persons overseas. the fisa statute, the fbi can
collect electronic surveillance in the united states. it is different than 702. the conversation we're having us about this which is final and important. i wanted to point out the difference. mr. gowdy: you are 100% correct and i am 100% correct to say that is a distinction that does not matter to most of the people watching. what we are reauthorizing this fall has nothing to do with his other than it is another government program where the people can allow our government to pursue certain things with the explicit promise it will be a texan. so you're right, they're different. but in the eyes of people watching, it is the name of the united states citizen. if it can happen here, it can happen there. trust me, we both want to see it reauthorize. it is in jeopardy if we do not get this resolved. >> thank you mr. chairman. i want to follow up with a few
questions about roger stem that i had started with earlier before i passed into my colleagues. george cobey, are you aware roger stone played a role in the trunk campaign? recs i'm not going to talk about any particular worsen here today, mr. schiff. to continue chassis questions i want to make sure you are aware of these facts whether you want to comment on them or not. read pressde -- reports were mr. stone bragged about dirty tricks? >> i will give it is a myth as before. >> are you aware that mr. stone gusifer 2?act with are you aware on august 16, received a communication from 2, saying, you are
great. is there anything i can do to help you? are you aware that communication to mr. stone? are you aware that mr. stone was also in communication with julian assange of wikileaks? >> same answer. >> are you aware that mr. stone was also in communication with an intermediary of mr. assange? >> can't answer. i just you know if russian intelligence service has dealt directly with wikileaks or whether they, too, used an interim meteor? drags they used some kind of cut out. they did not deal directly with gusifers in contrast to 2. you aware mr. stone tweeted, i have total confidence my hero julian assange will
educate the american people's and? >> back to my original answer. cards are you aware that only days later that wikileaks released the podesta emails? >> same answer. >> i am going to yield out to mr. hines. i thank you mr. ship. to thewe are going 90-minute mark on this hearing. let me step back and review the topics. there is a lot on the table. i think my friends on the republican side will get no argument from the sign on the importance of investigating, prosecuting leaks. leaks are a threat to our national security whether they are perpetrated by edward snowden, people outside the white house, or perhaps as we've seen in the last 60 days, maybe from people inside the white house. at mr. comey, if i can use your phrase "intense public interest." there is an intense public interest in the fact that our new president will attack anyone and everyone. you will attack the cast of
hamilton, chuck schumer, our allies, mexico, straight, germany, the intelligence community which you leave. associating it with nazi is a man mccarthyism. that there is one person in one country that is immune. which is inoculated from any form of presidential attack the matter what the behavior. no matter there is a violation of the ins nuclear treaty. no matter if vladimir putin kills opponents. the new president defends, optus gaetz, does not attack -- obscure kates. tore is an odd connection russia. a series of odd connections. we all campaign. i do not think any of our campaign people have attachments to russia. apart from these weird links, without exception, the individuals i have quoted have assembled, misled, maybe even lied about the nature of those connections until the critical
pressure is gotten to a point where they have been fired or recused, in the case of the attorney general. i want to look briefly at one of these individuals. director coming, i understand your constraints but let me ask a couple questions. paul manafort, who is roger stone's business partner and donald trump's former campaign manager, want to ask a few questions about him. first, director comey, can you tell me what the foreign agents registration act is. >> of course. not in an expert way but it is a statute that requires people non-u.s. an agent of a government to register with the united states. i said the department of justice , this is their manual, the purpose is to ensure that the u.s. government, the people of the united states are informed to the source of information and
identity of persons attempting politicalce u.s. opinion, policy, and laws. would you agree that guarding against foreign influence measures falls under this heading? >> yes. thanks in general, is "will for violation" or failure to register for this lie in some circumstances, a crime? eggs i believe it is. >> and it could lead to counter intelligence concerns, right? i guess. >> paul manafort has reported in the new york times and other, that a campaign was run and washington to lobby government officials and push president -- push positive average of officials. yanukovychrking for as far back as 2007 according to the washington post. the lobby was only discovered by ukraine's new anticorruption bureau which found secret ledges
13 mainndicating almost dollars in undisclosed cash payments from ukrainian government coffers to paul manafort for lobbying done between 2007-2012 for mr. aegon you coverage -- for mr. yanukovych. did he ever register as a foreign agent? >> i cannot comment on. christ with any registered or not is not sending in common on? >> no full >> ok. manafort was however donald trump's campaign manager july 2016, right? >> i do not want to get into answering questions about any individual u.s. person. it is obvious from the public record i do not want to start down the road of answering questions about somebody. >> i think the facts which show he never did register. it is the braking member pointed out, perhaps it will come as no surprise that the republican
platform which was drafted at the republican convention in july 2016 underwent a pretty significant change with respect to the american response to russia's illegal invasion of occupation ofeir that country. it appears from our standpoint that we had perhaps somebody who should have registered who was pulling the strings there. there is more. i do not know how much you will be able to comment but i want to explore the nature of the russian government. oftentimes the question becomes, was there contact with russian officials. i want to read you a brief quote from a book on putin's government. of seeing instead russian politics in an encoded system being pulled down by history, accident so under kratz, in confidence, or poor western advice, i conclude from the beginning region and his
circle sought to create an authoritarian regime ruled by a close-knit cabal who used democracy for decoration rather than direction. mr. comey, is it fair to say that the line that exists in the united states between government officers and government ?fficials is blurred and russia there may be oligarchs are other individuals who are new servants appear to be private citizens but who have connections to this close-knit cabal who might be agents of influence over who might be doing the kremlin's bidding in contact with others. >> that is fair to say. intelligence commissions is trying to understand who are those people and are they acting on behalf of the russian government. >> is it true there is a category of oligarchs who are likely part of this close-knit cabal? >> in a general sense. i can't if they go way back to vladimir putin, did the chances increase they might be connected with the kgb as asserted by
be assor? >> i can consideration. >> and the kgb was the russian intelligence arms under the 78 union, correct? and the ukraine was part of the soviet union? >> correct. >> i will just observe. the richestrch is man in ukraine and they put an ally. he recommended paul manafort to you can over the age. h --o you count of yukanovich. the storyis because is told of paul manafort acting on behalf of ukraine's former , who was theter justice minister under the
previous pro-russian regime and i will read a segment from the story. who was involved in jailing the prime minister who was the main political rival of the kremlin-backed president victor yana covance -- viktor yanukovych. , shantou was released for jail at the same time viktor yanukovych was ousted. many sought as through the government. ukrainian prosecutors say metaphor dressed a public relations strategy that included hiring an american law formed to review the case and show the conviction had a sound legal basis. the story talks about the transfer of over $1 million, potentially illegally, from ukrainian coffers. i bring this up with you because the story also says -- and it
appears to have been confirmed by the department of justice -- that the current ukraine regime is hardly a friend of the russians and very much targeted by the russians, has made seven requests to the united states government for assistance under the emily treaty in securing -- the mla treaty and securing the assistance of paul manafort in this anticorruption case. it says you were presented personally with a letter of the for that as this is. is that true? have you been asked to provide assistance to the current ukrainian government with respect to paul manafort and how thatu plan to respond to request? >> i cannot say. strong a very relationship incorporation was criminal on national security areas with our ukrainian partners but i cannot talk about the particular matter. >> the story says the doj confirmed there had been requests for assistance on this matter. you can't go as far as
confirming in fact there have been requests made which mark crocs if am done that i would need them to do it again. i cannot comment on it. >> i appreciate that. i yield back the remainder of my time. ranking you, mr. member. my questions this morning really revolve around the resignation of the former national security adviser met -- michael flynn. much has been made about russia's historical interference with political elections around the world. this to cause discord and unity, especially in western alliances. does the fbi generally assume that russian ambassadors to the united states like ambassador overtlyact or at least collecting intelligence on influential americans, especially political leaders?
i've said is not something i can answer in an open setting. >> am i right that in the russian playbook, if it is in the russian playbook to use the formats and businesspeople and russian intelligence officers, whether or not to collect intelligence on influential americans for the purpose of affecting u.s. policy? >> as a general manner, nationstates who are adversaries of the united states use intelligence officers and sometimes intelligence officers operating under diplomatic cover. use people called co-op deese. students, academics, business people, all manner of human beings can be used in an intelligence gathering operation. i will not turn about to go us. thean someone like ambassador play that type of role for russia? >> i cannot say here. >> the declassified january assessment report that your agency helped to draft, the
report that is entitled activities insian " sayscent elections russian intelligence efforts have primarily focused on foreign intelligence collection. that could help russian leaders understand a new u.s. administration plans and priorities. knowing what we know about russia's efforts into the role of the russian ambassador, director kolbe, would you be concerned if anyone of your agents had a private meeting with the investor questionnaire employee had a meeting with a russian agent of any kind it would be concerning, particularly if it were not disclosed. >> would you expect that agent to report that meeting? >> admiral rodgers, similar question. would you be concerned if one of your intelligence officers had a private with the russian
ambassador and would you expect that intelligence officer to discuss that meeting? >> disclosure is a requirement for all of our employees, even myself. >> i asked these questions because on at least four occasions that i can count, mr. flynn, a three-star general and former intelligence officer, someone with influence over the u.s. policy on someone with knowledge of state secrets and the incoming national security adviser, communicate with and met with the russian ambassador and failed to disclose it. so i ask you directors, if you would stand for your own -- if you would not stand for your own stuff to do this, why should we, the american people, except michael flynn doing it? -- i can't speak to what the disclosure obligations are for other people in the government so it is hard for me to answer that. i can answer it with respect to one of the fbi special agents.
>> i likewise would answer the same way in terms of the nsa. >> gentleman's time is expired. i yield myself 15 minutes. >> director kolbe, you announced this morning there would be an investigation into trump associates and president chavez and went around the campaign in association with the russian government. this committee or anyone else comes with information to you about the hillary clinton campaign or their associates or someone from the clinton foundation, would you add that to your investigation? they have ties to russian intelligence services, russian agents, would that be something of interest to you? >> people bring us information about what they think is improper and all lawful -- and just anything. folks send us this all the time, they should keep doing that. i do think it would be possible
that russia would not be trying to information on hillary clinton and try to get to people around that campaign over at the clinton foundation? >> i'm not prepared to comment about the particular campaigns, but the russians in general are always trying to understand to the future leaders might be hand what levers of influence there might be on them. if informationt does surface about the other campaigns, not just hillary clinton spun any other campaigns that you would take that serious also if the russians were trying to infiltrate those campaigns around the. >> of course we won. ask i yield to mr. conway. >> thank you for being here. you mentioned standards earlier in the conversation. either standards the same for all intelligence analysts across the agency's? >> there is a broad standard that applies to all of us. for example, a particular authority being used to collect
information. thanks so your analyst would have the same standards? >> correct. that is one of the really good things that has happened since 9/11. especially since 2004, the adoption of a common set of trade provisions. >> i may cpa and we have generally accepted accounting standards. are those same standards publicly obligated? disseminated to all of your analysts? a test that they know those standards? >> i think the specifics are classified. ic attributes a hacking to a particular hacker, you do that through generally forensic efforts. when it comes to determining intent, can you walk through how the nsi does that or the government does that? >> we test the range of
information we have collected and have an attempt to generate understanding to not only what has occurred but part of the intelligence profession is also trying to understand why. what was the intent? we will use the range of information available to us. we are primarily a single source organization. that is why the cia, others have multiple sources to put together a complete picture. we are just one component of a broader effort. currently,or anything different? director comey: sometimes from current information you can put together something. sometimes it requires human sources. additional signals and intelligence to give you that. precise really a science to determine and 10. >> that's a right. it requires judgment at the center of it. ask i would say in some cases it is much more clear than others.
>> it depends on resources you have inside a particular foreign leaders shop. >> i'm not going to get into specifics. >> in general. if you have somebody who's next neighbor -- nevermind. 6, the 7, february assessment. do both of your agencies agree with the assessment that the russian goal was to undermine the american public faith in need of credit process? is that still your assessment? >> yes. >> it says the russian goal was to denigrate secretary clinton electability and presidency and that vladimir putin wanted to discredit secretary clinton because he publicly blamed her sense 2011 for inciting mass protests against his regime in late 2011 come early 2012. do both still boot that assessment? >> yes. >> yes. rides it goes on to say president putin in the russian government conspired to help
president trump's election process at the time. you had a lower confidence level. as is still the case question archives yes sir. >> can you tell the group wipers were >> i'm not going to get into specifics but for me it boiled down to the level on that one particular judgment. it was slightly different to me than the others. thanks to be clear -- we all agree with that judgment. but you really agreed. >> i got you. director comey, in terms of laying out those three assessments and whether or not the ic was consistent in its view of those three assessments across the entire campaign, can we walk through kind of the fbi's walk down that path?
early december 2016, -- assessi ss that that the active measures of the russians were to under made the faith in the u.s. democratic process? did you come to that conclusion in december 2016? sir.s, >> and then active measures conducted against secretary clinton to denigrate her campaign and also undermine her residency? >> correct. >> and then, the conclusion that active measures were taken specifically to help president trump's campaign? by the that conclusion summer? >> correct. they wanted to hurt our democracy. hurt her. help him. at least as early as december we were confident in all three. >> the roughly gives me concern
in terms of timing of when that all occurred, because i'm not sure if we went back and got that same january assessment six months earlier it would have looked the same because you said when we further assessment none the russian government developed a clear preference for president-elect trump. anything when -- any idea when that clear preference analysis got into the lexicon? when you are talking back and forth amongst yourself on a close my basis? >> i do not know for sure but i think that was a fairly easy judgment for the community. vladimir putin hated secretary clinton so much that they flip side of the coin was yet a clear preference for the person running against the person he hated so much. bags that might work on a saturday afternoon football -- >> that might work on a saturday
afternoon football game, but the logic is that because he really did not like a presidential candidate clinton that he automatically liked donald trump. that assessment is based on what ? >> it is based on more than that, but part of that is and we won't get into the details, but part of it is logic. it the red raiders are winning, you want the red raiders to win, by definition you want your opponent to lose. >> but this is you want both of them. you want her to lose, him to win. >> it is a two-person race. >> i get that. i am just saying, when did you decide he wanted them to win? do, when they wanted him to lose they wanted her to -- when they wanted her to lose they wanted him to win. >> the russian is, when? >> let me finish up. that sentence about the clear preference for donald trump, we don't know when you decided that was the case. then you said, when it appeared
to moscow that secretary clinton was likely to win the election, the russian influence campaign that focused on undermining her expected presidency. so, then the next sentence says come with the russian government conspired to help president-elect trump election chances. so when did they not think she was going to win? >> the assessment of the intelligence community was as the summer went on and the polls appeared to show secretary clinton was going to win, the russians sort of gave up in focused on trying to undermine her. it is the bread raiders. you know they are not going to win so you hope people on the other to get hurt said they are not such a tough opponent on the road. cried you believe the fbi was consistent through early -- >> you believe the fbi was consistent through early december on. they were working for trump to win into her to lose? >> yes, our analysts said a few i do not believe changed from
late fall through the report on january 6 that it had those three elements. >> so on december 9, well in advance of the january 6 deal, post put out and article. their lead sentence was, concluded a secret assessment that russia intervened to help donald trump when the residency rather than to undermine the confidence in the electoral system. they do not mention miss clinton at all. then it says, to help get truck elected, briefed on the to u.s.ence position senator said that is the consensus view. this is written by a guy named adam and greg miller. did they help draft the january 6 document to the committee? >>
i'm sorry? >> did those writers from the washington post help you write assessment?6 >> no, they did not. i can wonder how they got pretty much the exact same language on the ninth? >> i do not know. this is the parallel of trying to comment on newspaper reports classifiedey have information. they are often wrong. >> you said, when anyone uses the "i can't talk about it" bound by anonymity, that is code. >> generally right. >> secret information, reporter cannot tell who it is because as mr. gowdy was saying earlier, speaking on the condition of anonymity that should really be interpreted as "i'm breaking the law and i do not want to be outed." >> there are several reasons for people requesting anonymity.
that can be one of them. tracks did the electoral process hurt hillary and her potential candidacy and were they prepare to hurt all of that if they intended to her trump? insider'tis learned this morning? testimony this morning? >> -- >> i will start with this. i want to thank you for being here today and for the cooperation. thank you. director comey, i understand your situation that you cannot comment on the investigation and yet we can have various scenarios laid out for months and months without anyone being able to disprove them until the investigation is completed. for instance, we could have said that in 2012, president obama
was overheard on a microphone , if i'm elected tell vladimir putin we can work out better arrangements. remember, he wrinkled elections when he romney said he did not a threat.ians were in 2013, president obama invited the russians into syria when they were pretty much remit from the middle east 40 years before. as far as a two ukraine, the obama administration always believed we could go into ukraine. the republican platform in 2016 was stronger than the democratic platform on that. so if there was an investigation going with the obama administration, we can lay out all the scenarios and say that for something or might prove something because until the investigation is completed, that type of almost posthumous slanderous comments can be made. you to hurrysking
the investigation along. doing you have to do. to useuess i would like the remaining moments i have in this round. the director said as far as he knows, all of the evidence he is seen, there is no evidence of any collusion at all between the trump campaign manager russians. >> mr. king, that is nothing i can comment on. >> you're not going to disagree, just not comic? the reason i pointed out as if other wayion was a
around, just because a person's name is brought up, worked with somebody at a certain time, there is guilt. i am not in anyway being critical of any of you, i'm just saying this can be damaging and does advance the russian interest to try to destabilize democracy and cause a lack of confidence in our system. >> i recognize mr. schiff for 15 minutes. >> i have a couple questions before i pass it. was not simply that the russians had a negative preference against secretary clinton, they also had a clear preference for donald trump, is that correct? >> correct. >> i want to ask you to say whether this is an active character is shania mr. trump. would it be logical for the kremlin to prefer a candidate to beisparaged nato president of the united states? >> you're not going to put me in that spot you said? i'm happy with that. >> and not going to put you in
the spot to say whether this is inaccurate characterization, but would it be logical for the russian to want someone who had a dim view of nato? >> that is beyond my responsibility to answer. >> well, what is the russian view of nato? do they like nato? did they want to see nato strong? >> again, i am sure you have already spoken to people who are greater experts then i. nato.o not like they think nato threatens them. >> when they have a preference approved of what they were doing in ukraine? i ask again, no answer. >> would they like to see the sanctions on ukraine go wake which were >> yes. >> would they have a preference for a candidate who expressed up in admiration of putin? >> mr. putin would like people who like him.
>> would a have a preference for a candidate who liked recs and and other departures from europe? would they like to see more exit ? -- more brexit? >> yes. >> and how they demonstrated a preference for people is business leaders with the hope they can entangle them and financial interest or they may allow their financial interest to take precedence over the countries they represent? reince in our joint report, we recount that president clinton has expressed a preference for business -- wein our joint report, express that president putin has expressed a preference for .eople with their own business >> i would like to continue the line of questioning on mr.
flynn. mr. flynn not only failed to disclose contacts with the russian ambassador but he said he did not remember whether he discussed sanctions against russia with that ambassador and i find that hard to believe. wouldn't you think at the height of our concern about russian hacking that mr. flynn would have remembered meeting with the russian ambassador and would have told him to stop meddling in our affairs but that did not happen, did it? >> said is not something i can answer. >> not only did he not remember talking or what they talked about, he also appears to of like to vice president elect mike pence all about it. this jacoby, do you think that mr. flynn's failure to disclose the communication and contact he had with the russian ambassador and their topics of conversation along with blatant lies to vice president pence meet the
standard for investigation by the fbi? >> i had to give you the same answer. i am not going to comment. >> i know, director comey, that you probably cannot comment on this as well but i think it is really important that we review a short timeline that is based on press reporting because we need to get this for the public record, i think. 25, 2016, mr. flynn reportedly exchanged text messages with the russian ambassador. on december 28, 2016, mr. flynn reportedly spoke on the phone with the russian ambassador. by then it was pretty clear that the obama administration was going to take action against russia. on december 20 9, 2016, mr. then reportedly spoke to russian ambassador i can. that day, the obama 35 russianion had operatives from the united states and announced new sanctions.
we also know from press reporting that sometime in december, mr. flynn met in person with the russian ambassador at trump tower in that mr. trump's son-in-law, jared kirschner, was also there. the purpose of the meeting was to "establish communication with ." kremlin i should add the white house said mr. flynn did not disclose that the december face-to-face meeting until this month. 20:17, press, at reported that mr. flynn contacted the russian ambassador again. and vice president elect mike pence stated on several sunday morning shows regarding mr. flynn's conversations the investor "what i can confirm, having spoken to him about it, is that those conversations that happened to look or around the time the united states took action to expel diplomats had nothing whatsoever to do with hose sanctions."
on january 26, the acting attorney general sally yates reportedly told president whop's white house counsel immediately told president trump, that mr. flynn was vulnerable to russian blackmail because of discrepancies between vice president elect pence's public statement and mr. flynn's actual discussions. 10, president trump denied knowledge of this, telling reporters on air force one "i do not know about that." in response to questions about mr. flynn's conduct. the white house also publicly denied that the servlet in the russian ambassador discussed sanctions. mr. flynn re-signed as national security advisor afterwards. mr. comey, all of these accounts are open-source press reporting. even russia's of long-standing
desire to cultivate relations with influential u.s. persons, isn't the american public right to be concerned about mr. flynn's conduct? his fire to disclose that contact with the russian ambassador?'s attempts to cover it up? and what looks like the white house attempts to sweep it under the rug? no we as american people deserve the right to know in shouldn't our fbi investigate such claims? comment.ot i understand people's curiosity about our work that attracts interest in it. often speculation. we cannot do it well or fairly to the people we investigate if we talk about its i cannot comment. >> i would like to turn to another topic about mr. flynn. failure to disclose until pressured last week by mike colleagues on the house oversight and government relations committee, government reforms committee, payments he
received from russia for his 2015 trip to the 10th anniversary gala of rt, the russia-owned rep. guinta: media outlet. january declassified icy assessment report, rt's criticism of the united states was "the last facet of its broader and long-standing anti-u.s. messaging, likely a bad undermining viewer trust in the u.s. democratic messages." this points out this was a strategy that russia employed going back to before the 2012 elections, according to the icy assessment. -- according to the icy assessment. am i right that the rt is essentially owned by the government of russia? how long has the u.s. government been looking at rt as an arm of
the russian government chris records we're certainly aware of the connection between the russian government and our two. >> how long have you known? if you want scores wreck a few years? and me, a lot has united states known? >> i do not not the top of my head. i apologize. >> in my right to assume the former director of dia, defense intelligence agency, mr. flynn, would've been aware that rt's role as an anti-u.s., russian propaganda outlet when he agreed to speak at their anniversary gala in 2015? isn't it reasonable to assume you would know? cannot speak on the common knowledge of another person, ma'am. >> would it be usual to be paid by a foreign adversary to attend such an event? would it be unusual and raise some questions with the fbi of that person failed to disclose the payment received for that
trip? >> i do not know in general. as to the specific, i am not going to comment. >> yes sir, i understand you cannot, but i would like to read an exchange between mr. flynn in a yahoo! news correspondent from july 2016 regarding his trip to russia during the event. the correspondent asked, were you paid for that event? then there was back and forth for a bit and mr. flynn said, "yes. i did not take any money from russia if that is what you are asking me." so, director coming, isn't it true that the house oversight committee last week received information in released publicly that mr. flynn accepted nearly $35,000 in speaking fees and traveling fees from rt, this russian government owned media outlet? >> i believe i have seen news
accounts to that effect. >> moreover, isn't it also tree that according to the restaurant that according to the emoluments clause, a person holding any office of trust cannot accept gifts or payments from a foreign dod,ry and doesn't the department of defense, prohibit retired military officers from fees, any consulting gifts, traveling expenses, on a rams, celery, from a foreign government including foreign enterprises on by or controlled rt? foreign government like cried is not something i can comment on. >> and you speak to whether or not the monuments clause would apply to someone like mr. flynn, a retired three-start general. >> i cannot. >> so, i find it to be really hard to believe that given the emoluments clause does apply to retired officers like mr. flynn,
i cannot believe that mr. flynn, a retired military officer, from thee money russian government in violation of the u.s. constitution and i believe that such violation is worthy of a criminal investigation by the bia. .hat -- by the fbi what level approved we need to have a criminal investigation i the fbi of mr. flynn? >> i cannot comment. i at the american people be oncerned -- >> shouldn't the american people be concerned? it is hard to fathom he would not he aware if he received $35,000 as part of a speaking engagement to rt, the russian propaganda news outlet? , directoruestion kobe, following on mr. heinz's line of questioning, am i correct that the foreign agent
registration act requires that individuals must register with the united states government? >> i believe that is correct. annow i keep saying i'm not extra, the reason i keep saying that as i do not know how they define things like lobbying and this statute. it is a general matter if you are going to represent a foreign ,overnment with our government you should be registered. >> is the true that mr. flynn was working as a foreign agent doing work that principally benefited the government of turkey and yet he did not report it until just last week benchmark >> i cannot comment on that. crisis nature that mr. flynn was reportedly paid over half of a million dollars -- >> isn't it true that mr. flynn was reportedly paid over half $1 million? wasn't he on at least two occasions asked by mr. flynn's lawyers whether he should report the work used on on behalf of
the turkish government and yet administration did not give him any advice to the contrary quite right do you know anything about that benchmark tax i would give you the same answer. >> i know you cannot discuss whether any investigations are ongoing with u.s. persons. i respect that. i think it is important the american people understand the scope in brett of what the -- the scope of what the reporting is that led to mr. flynn's resignation. while we cannot talk about whether there is an investigation, i believe we hear must put those facts into the public domain. and they are that mr. flynn lied about his communications with mr.russian ambassador and flynn live on taking money from the russian government and mr. flynn at eight minimum did not disclose his work as an agent of a foreign power and that the
white house did not help in this concern. gentlemen, it is clear to me that mr. flynn should be under criminal investigations. i know you cannot comment. i believe it is my duty as a member of this committee to comment to the american people his engagement of lying and failure to disclose really important information in contact with a foreign ambassador do rise to the level of disclosure intent., criminal so i say this to say the american people deserve to know the full extent of mr. flynn's involvement with the russians and the extent to which it influence the 2016 election. i believe our democracy requires it. i yelled back to my ranking member. >> time expired. i recognize myself for the team that is. mr. comey and mr. rogers, you both said the russians had favored donald trump in the
election in june that change from the beginning of december it was not that they tried to help donald trump but that changed by early january. mr. conway, you talked about that. >> i do not agree with that. we did not change our view from december to early january. i do not know that anybody .usted on the icy -- ic team >> at some point the assessment changed from going from just trying to hurt hillary clinton to actually trying to help donald trump get elected. that was early december as far as i know. i january, you had all changed your mind on that. >> that is not my recollection. >> it is not mike recollection either. >> ok. so, do russians historically prefer republicans to win over democrats?
>> i do not know the answer to that. mittd the russians prefer romney over brock obama in 2012? >> i do not know that we ever went through a formal analytic conclusion. >> did the russians prefer john mccain in 2008 over brock obama? >> i never saw a u.s. intelligence committee on that issue. >> you think it is correct to say russians prefer republicans over democrats? i did not hear you to say that, i apologize. >> i hope you did not hear us to say that. i'm just asking a general question. wouldn't it be a little preposterous to say that historically going back to ronald reagan, and all that we know about maybe who the russians would prefer, that somehow the russians prefer republicans over democrats?
tothere is -- i'm not going discuss it in this forum -- in the classified version that we did -- there is some analysis that discusses it because i remember a day come up in our assessment on the russian peace. say on that, again without going into classified sections, that indicating historically russians have supported republicans, i know that language is there. of a cloud onat the entire report. indicates the direction it is going in. i know when ureters going to be but i want to state this for the record, on march 15, former acting director under president obama and for the record, i had differences with him in the past, he was there about the questions of the trump campaign
conspiring with the russians. as it's was, there is smoke but no campfire at all. no caps on are, no candle, no spark. do you agree with this mr. morel? ask i cannot comment. >> admiral rodgers? >> i can't. >> i understand that. we're talking about the significance of leaks and how important it is that we stop them. to me, i have been here a while, i have never seen such a sustained time of leaks going back to december when not the intelligence committee, but the washington post was told the conclusion of the report. that is number one. what is going to be. situations in the new york times meetings. talk of transcripts. conversations. there was one in particular that spoke about the trump campaign individuals meeting with russian intelligence agents and again,
dr. comic-con why don't know if you can comment on this but the white house chief of staff said that day or the next day that mr. mckay from your office went to him at the white house and b.s.im that story was is there anyway you can comment on that? been as have always problem. i remember reading about george washington and abraham lincoln complaining about them. and the last couple of there has been at least apparently a lot of conversation about classified matters ending up in the media. a lot of it instead run which is one of the challenges because we corrected. it does strike me, there have been a lot of people talking. at least reporters saying people are talking to them in ways that struck me as unusually active.
>> i fully understand the media's fascination with intrigue. with which faction at the white house is trying to outdo the other. to me, that is all legitimate. it does with the game. but if you are talking about leaking classified it information, leaking investigations, i mean -- you stated there is an fbi investigation going on. the new york times can be believed, i think it has to be somebody from the fbi telling about these important meetings .hat mr. mccabe said was bs someone spoke to the new york times. it is a small universe. i think on january 6 when yourself, admiral rogers, director run in, and general copper went to trump tower to meet with president trump. the media reports are that at the end of that meeting, dr.
comey, -- director comey, you presented president trump with the now famous dossier. i do not know how many people were in the room but within hours that was leaked to the media and gave the media thinks you saw the rationale to publish almost the entire dossier. does that violate any law? i mean, if you were on a classified briefing with the president elect of the united states in and had to be a very, very small universe that new you handed him the dossier and it was found out in a matter of hours, did you make any effort to find out who leaked that? >> i cannot say mr. kaine, but i can answer in general. -- mr. king. but i can answer it general. any link is a potential violation of the law in a serious problem. i have spent the most of micro trying to figure out on
classified disclosures. it often does not come from those in know the secrets. it comes from one pop out. people who know about it, were told about it. that is why so much is wrong in the media. the people who heard about it did not hear about it right. it is an enormous problem whenever you find it information that is actually classified in the media. we don't want to talk about it, confirm her, but i think it should be investigated aggressively and prosecuted some people take a lesson that this is not ok. this kind of information can be returned. it can be deterred by locking people up who are engaged in this kind of activity. >> were there any people in the room who leaked it out? this report was circulated among 20 people? this is an unmasking of names. the report of all the intelligence agencies. this is for people in a room
with the president-elect of the united states. i do not know who else was in that room but doubtlessly dealt with in within minutes or hours of you handing that dossier. believe me, i am not saying it is you, i am saying it is a small universe of people that would've known about that and it is a disclosure of classified information. if you are going to start investigating leaks, that is one place where you can really start to narrow it down. bags again, mr. king, -- king, it often turns out there are more people who new about something then you expected. there may be more people involved in the thing that you realize. not this in particular, but in general. staff has been briefed. those echoes in my experience are most often when ends up being shared with reports. thanks can you tell us who else was in the room with you that day #mr. comey: no.
i will not -- can you tell us who else was in the room that day? mr. comey: no. i'm not going to confer many conversations with either president obama or president or when president trump was the president elect. >> can you tell us who was in the room for that briefing you gave? mr. comey: that you are saying eventually ended up in the newspaper? that would be classified information. i'm not going to help people who did something that is unauthorized. >> we all know that you all went to trump tower for the briefing. >> how do we all know that, though? tracks yeah. you can see the predicament we are in common though. >> i get it. a we are duty bound to protect testified information both when we get it in to make sure we do
not accidentally jeopardized testified information. >> i would advise director klapper in director rendon, we will ask them the same russians next week. -- and director brendan. we will ask them the same questions next week. >> thank you for your service. thank you for being here. what both of that you have been saying about because fight nature of the investigation, the classified nature of the topics we are talking about, can you give us any indication of when we the committee may, in a classified setting, no something from you? will we have ongoing updates? >> i do not know how long the work will take. i cannot commit to updates, as
you know. i have briefed the city as a whole lot some aspects and i have briefed in great detail the chair in the ranking. i cannot commit to update at we are in constant touch with you it we will do the best we can but i cannot commit to that as i sit here. south -- house intelligence committee and senate intelligence committee are conducting bipartisan investigations and looking wherever it may lead with individuals or circumstances, if you through the fbi investigation come across a circumstance with an individual be madeuation, would we aware of that under normal course of business #>> not necessarily, but it is possible.
>> can you, director comey or admiral rogers, tell us what we are doing or should be doing to protect against russian electionsce in future or any meddling with our government or for that matter, any state sponsor iranians, north koreans, chinese, with any meddling they may be doing? >> so first, i think public discussion and acknowledgment is a good positive first step because it signs a flashlight on this if you will. it illuminates a significant issue we all have to deal with. government and private sector questions of how to we harden our defenses. we need a question about the critical infrastructure in the 21st century. i don't think we necessarily could think of election infrastructure is critical.
i think we usually think about it as electricity, finance, i do not the whiff traditionally thought about it in the informational kind of dynamic. it is a challenge for us. continued partnership between the elements in the government as well as the private sector is the key to the future to me. >> just for the record, i also had a whole list of specific questions about individuals and-or circumstances that do not want to be repetitive in have you say "i cannot comment on them." but i would into his a paid when we moved to classified sessions that this committee will be able to explore some of those situations in a little more depth. i have a couple of other russians about the intervention but i do not have enough time to get into it right
now. you can give me a couple minutes when we get to the next round. briefly, if you can describe the elements of russia's active measures in the campaign, in the 2016 election. we'll have 35 seconds by that is the first thing i want to get into about exactly what they were doing if you can tell us anything about that. >> we saw cyber used. we saw the use of external media. we saw the use of disinformation. we saw the use of leaking information, much of which was not altered. traitsseveral common we've seen over time as well as i would argue the difference this time was the cyber dimension and the fact that the release of so much information that they had used cyber as the primary tool to drive and outcome. >> can you talk about the tools they used? ask i am not going to go into
specifics of how they executed the tax -- >> i am not going to got into specifics of how they executed the hacks. couple questions. director comey, can you tell me 86 is? >> it is the standard background clearance form that all of us hired by the federal government to allow who have classified information axes. >> with someone who is an incoming security advisor have two the loud and sf 86? would it require that the applicant disclose any payments received from a foreign power? >> i think so. i mean, the form is the form. foreign travel as well.
you would make a request to to whichever component would have mr. flynn's fs 86, that should be given to the committee. i yelled now to mr. carson. mr. carson: i would like to put my line of question towards russia and beginning the conflict that has yet to be resolved. describe, as you understand it, how russia took crimea? was would argue that it military force, occupation, and movement from ukrainian control.
>> we have heard of little green warfare.hybrid overtt we saw was not activity like crimea. effort saw was a bigger on influence and attempts to from anyrussian action blowback to the russian state, if you will. the little green men. it was a flow of resources to support the forcible separation of the ukraine. >> has russia returned crimea? >> no. they have publicly indicated that a will not. >> why do they care?
is an interest of the national state. to see it as part of their broader objective to theuence and impact ukrainian desire of self-determination? >> that is part of it. >> the united states and the rest of the world saw the annexation for what it was -- a crime. after russia invaded, the united nations declared it a crime in a non-binding resolution and our government recognize the seriousness of these events and instituted sanctions against russia in a time when much of the world was united that russia had invaded and it illegally annexed territory. the one person who did not see
it that way was trump. news,interview with abc trump said, putin is not going into the ukraine. just so you understand, he is not going into the ukraine. hadn't he arty gone into the ukraine? >> we are talking about crimea influence. -- most up >> he has still yes. >> he still has not left. >> with crimea, they outright invaded and annexed. >> are they still in ukraine? supporting the ongoing effort in the ukraine to split the country. >> tell me what it would mean to russia and to vladimir putin to
have sanctions lifted. easing of economic impact, greater flexibility, more resources. according to nato analysis, the russian economy shrunk in 2015 and had no growth in 2016 because of the sanctions, especially those against oil and gas. we are talking about a loss of $135 billion in the first year of sanctions. this is a huge sum of money. they sanctions are meant to put long-term pressure on vladimir putin to change his behavior and he has said that sanctions are harming russia. know they have success in putting pressure on the kremlin. what would it mean, geopolitically?
thed it help legitimate russian land grab? >> i cannot talk about the geopolitical implications. we have tried to outline to policymakers specifics of the continued russian support to separatists and the attempt to pressure and keep the ukraine weak. >> would it help the united states and its allies? >> there is a lot at stake. if they can legitimate the annexation, what is next? are we looking at a new iron curtain? most of us recognize what is at
stake and how the united states is the only check on russian expansion. at the republican convention, paul manafort, carter page, and trump changed the republican party platform to no longer arm the ukraine. the same month he denied that role, his team weakened the party platform. several members of the trump orbit held meetings with officials. this is no coincidence, in my opinion. byy dossier written christopher steel said that he agreed to sideline intervention in the ukraine as a campaign
issue, which is a priority for vladimir putin. increasingly, allegations are checking out in that dossier and this one seems to be as accurate as they come. there is a pattern i want to point out. afort, fired. page, fired. flynn, fired. hired because of rushing connections and fired a cousin the connections became public. they are the fall guys. think after we hear the quigly line of questioning, we will know who is next. >> i yield the balance.
>> thank you for your service to the country. i think that it is important that we explain this to people in a way they can understand why they are talk and about this -- why we are talking about this. is russia our adversary? >> yes. >> yes. to do harm?ntend >> they want to gain advantage at our expense. arm has many meanings. they are in adversary. they want to oppose us in many ways. warfare.r about hybrid i would like a short definition of what it is. regular, conventional,
and cyber warfare. the aggressor tries to avoid attribution or retribution. would you say that russia engaged in hybrid warfare in an effort to undermine our democratic process and engage in our electoral process? the term, not use "warfare." they engaged in active measures to undermine the democracy and hurt one candidate and help another. >> i would agree with the director. >> thank you. >> i think that this was an act of hybrid warfare. that is why the american people should be concerned about it.
in terms of understanding this, i think of spiderwebs with a tarantula in the middle. the tarantula is vladimir putin. apping many people. i would include roger stone, carter page, michael caputo, manafort, andaul rex tillerson. i want to focus on rex tillerson. he was a ceo of exxon mobil. he says that the likelihood of u.s. and russia is this is was a poor investment and that russia was a bad investment client. climate. e closed a deal with ross
neft oil. of ceo is a confidant vladimir putin and the second-most powerful man in the nation and probably a former kgb agent. the deal is in the black sea and siberia for oil development. rosneft gets minority interests in texas and the gulf. calls and a good friend. and the other gentleman go and talk about the great deal they just talked about. there is a video of vladimir putin and mr. tillerson toasting
champagne. tillerson received the russian order of friendship. next to vladimir putin at the event. my question to you is, it is it a value to vladimir putin, knowing what you know of him and his interest in doing harm to us. beneficial for vladimir putin to have rex tillerson as the secretary of state? >> i cannot answer. >> i am not in a position to answer. stationed and laments that he cannot come to the united states to motorcycle ride with mr. tillerson. can you give me an understanding
of why we impose sanctions? >> on him? >> in general. >> you would have to ask an expert. my general knowledge, it punishes activities that are crimes,, involves war violates u.n. resolutions, for policy interests of america. that is my general sense. an expert could describe better. >> i echo the comments of the director and it is a cool we used to drive in shape actions of others. sanctionedase of the , it was in part to draw attention to the fact that
russia had invaded crimea and an effort to try and send a message to russia. is that true? >> i think that is right. >> yes. >> with that, i will yield for now. minutes andyself 15 i yield to the lady from florida. >> it is not acceptable for foreign powers to interfere in the electoral process in this committee focuses on the reprehensible russian conduct and we will be focused on that threat that emanates from moscow. i agree with you, director comey and we will follow these facts. there will be no sacred cow. there are important issues at
stake, as you have heard and there is bipartisan agreement on the danger of leaks and our ability to reauthorize important programs that the intelligence community relies on and i want to ensure the american people that there is bipartisan agreement to get to the bottom of russian meddling in this election. i agree with what you said, at a public acknowledgment is important moving forward. to follow up on the questions on this theme, i would like to ask you gentleman to describe what russia did in this election that they didn't do in previous elections and how it was
different in this election versus previous ones. >> the biggest difference was hacking as acyber, vehicle to gain access to the information and making it widely available without any change. loud in the intervention. they didn't care that we knew and they want us to see it. it was noisy. the intrusions were in different institutions. loudness, whats did the f dei or nsa do to counter this russian measure we read about in the community
assessment, as loud as they were? >> among other things, we have alerted people who haven't victims of intrusions to tighten their systems to see if they couldn't kick the russian actors out. we supply information to all the states to make sure there was no successful effort to affect the vote. as a whole, the government called this out and director clapper and jeh johnson issued a statement that said that this is what the russians are doing. to,he loudness you referred they were doing these actions in other elections and not doing it as loudly. why do you think they did not mind being loud and found out?
>> the number one mission is to undermine the credibility of the entire democracy enterprise of the nation. it may be that they wanted us to help by telling people what they were doing. the loudness was counted on to be amplified and freaking people out about how russians may be undermining our elections. it could be part of the plan will stop i don't know -- part of the plan. i don't know. >> i agree with director comey. activity, but never information published on a massive scale that was illegally removed from private individuals and organizations associated with the democratic process
inside and outside the government. amount and the publics, now that it is and it has become a huge deal, interference the to be amplified in future elections? do you see evidence of this in european elections? do you think that this would bring down the volatility? >> they will be back. they will be back in 2020. they may be back in 2018. the lesson they may draw is that they were successful because they introduced chaos division, ,ntroduced discord, sowed doubt and it is possible that they are
misreading that as that is worked. my sense is that they have come to the conclusion that it generated a positive about him for them and it called into question the democratic process. that is an element of the strategy. closely with our european teammates to provide insights that we have seen to assist as they are about to undergo national leadership elections. >> in terms of european elections, what have you seen? any information you can share with us about russian interference? >> you have seen some of the same things we have seen. there is fake news and attempts to release information to
embarrass individuals. you are seeing that play out. is recognized. thank you for being here today. i want to thank the chairman and the ranking membership. a committee that wants answers and we want answers to all of the questions, because this goes to an important issue. i will begin with this question on the foreign surveillance act. the foreign intelligence surveillance act provides circumstances and the authority under which the intelligence
community may intercept the communication of a person who is -- located outside the united states. you have discussed the minimization procedures underneath the foreign surveillance act. they are supposed to protect the surveillance -- privacy rights of citizens. particularly those who may be incidentally collected as a result of the lawful collection of communications of others. is the intelligence community required to cease collection or interception of communications, if the result includes the communications of an incoming administration official or of
the president elect's transition team? is a process we go through and it is whether this deals with persons or breaking the law. there is not a simple yes or no. >> is there anything that requires you cease collection, if the results in the advert and ?r inadvertent collection asus ofy on the exposure? i want to understand this question. doing lawful collection under the foreign intelligence surveillance act because they are located outside of the united states, is that the subject of a pfizer court
order or the collection results in the collections of an incoming administration official, the minimization procedure? -- >> not automatically not automatically. so, it is important for us to understand that the minimization procedures do not inherently include a prohibition of the intelligence community, incidentally or inadvertently. >> yes. aware ifmey, are you the director ever briefed the
united states president and president obama on the inadvertent or incidental collection or interception by the intelligence community? >> is not something i can comment on. >> why not? classifiednvolve information or to medications with the president. on both grounds, i cannot talk about it here. i may have talked about it with the chair. i don't know if it was the full committee. >> we will have to refresh your memory. president obama ever say he had 10 briefed on incidental collection or interception by
the intelligence community? >> i have to give you the same answer. once the first question is related to whether mr. clapper briefed the president. nextll follow up with them week and direct the questions to him. aware of any evidence that general flynn, prior to the inauguration, ever communicate to the russian government or a government official that the trump administration would release, rescind, or reverse sanctions against russia or ever made in offer of good protocol quo. quid pro i'm trying not to talk about --
bei'm trying notto studiously vague. i just cannot comment. as tore are procedures what it takes for the fbi to open up an investigation into a citizen. you cannot just say you are going to look at somebody. you have to have a basis. you have opened an investigation into members of the trump campaign, concerning russia. now, we are trying to get a picture of what it takes to tip over for an investigation. there were individuals who attended meetings with russian officials and a member who
attended a conference, a picture, travel. in all ofmany people the administrations and member of the congress who would qualify for that. what is the tipping point? it cannot just be that. don't you just need some action? what does it take to be open for counterintelligence? >> there are a will of different standards. a credible allegation of wrongdoing or a reasonable basis to believe that someone may be acting on behalf of a foreign power. >> mr. clapper said there is no evidence of collusion. you know, we now sit and the
russian said the plan was to put a cloud over the system and there is a cloud that undermines the system. we have mr. clapper saying there is no evidence and you will not give us any substantive evaluation. we now have this cloud. i have additional questions. >> we will get back to you. yield to jackie shapiro. >> let's go back to the tarantula web. in 2014, started to lobby the united states aboutment and asked shifting or lifting the sanctions.
he never lobbied against sanctions. exxon mobil and of her lobbied against sanctions. ask mobile paid over $3000 to lobbyists -- $300,000 to lobbyists. mr. tilson visited the white house five times in 2014 and treasury with secretary lou, seven times. is there something disconcerting u.s. ceo attempting to undermine the sanctions imposed by our government against another country for asked that we find to be disadvantageous to the world order?
>> that is not a question i can answer. i am not qualified to answer. >> how about this? you asisconcerting to ae director of the fbi that u.s. ceo would say publicly that he is very close friends with president putin and has had a 17 year relationship with him? >> that is not a question i can answer. >> would it raise any red flags? >> does not a question i can answer. -- a lot of of american corporations can do business with russia. i am in no way knowledgeable enough to comment. >> let's move on to someone else , his name is michael caputo. he is a pr professional,
conservative radio talk show host, 1994, he moved to russia. there he was working for the agency for international development. he was fired because he refused to follow a state department edition. he opened a pr firm in moscow and married a russian woman. he subsequently divorced her in . 1999 business sale roger stone, a mentor to him, urged him to move to florida and opened his tr firm in miami which is exactly what mr. caputo did. -- to0, he worked with improve putin's image in the united states. do we know who they are? director? >> i don't.
>> it is an oil company. in 2007, he began consulting the ukrainian parliamentary campaign . he met his second wife. what possible reason is there for the truck campaign to hire putin's image consultant? any thoughts? >> no thoughts. >> likewise >> do either of you know what michael caputo is doing for the trump effort today? >> no idea. on to carter page. carter page was the founder of global energies and investment funds. he only has one partner and that executive offormer a russian state-owned oil
company. before that from 2004 two 2007, he worked for merrill lynch in moscow. in march of 2016, trump referred to carter page as his foreign-policy advisor to the washington post. asserts that page he is an advisor on russia and energy. subsequently, canada trump says he does not know him. september 26, he takes a leave andbsence of the campaign aen he publicly supports relationship with russia, criticizes u.s. sanctions and nato's approach to russia, saysg -- and subsequently
-- in 2014, he writes an article criticizing u.s. sanctions, praising an article in global policy and then rebukes the west for focusing on so-called, annexation of crimea. in july of 2016, he gives a graduation speech at the new economic school, denies meeting with the prime minister. it says he met with -- offering a 19% interest. it becomes the biggest transfer of public property to private ownership. page is a national security advisor to donald trump. do you believe that -- why do we
-- here is another company that has had sanctions imposed upon it. could you again clarify why we impose sanctions on companies? >> admiral rogers did it better than i. >> i don't remember the specifics but i stand by my answer. >> all right. at that point, i will yield back. quigley.yield to mr. >> gentlemen, thank you for your service. we have talked a little bit playbook,russian extortion, bribery, false news, disinformation. we all sounds familiar, correct? without thinking about anybody in the united states.
the russian playbook and how it has worked in eastern europe and central europe, a lot of it involved trying to influence individuals in that country, correct? >> yes. >> what we have talked about today seems to be a black and white notion of whether there was collusion. as a russian active measure tempting to succeed in collusion , does the person involved have to know. to bet have to know involved in order to know there is collusion. >> intelligence, oftentimes there are people called co-op not aware they're dealing with agents of foreign power. they are doing things for someone they think there is a friend. it can happen. is a frequent technique.
>> beyond that, to include things that the actor doesn't know what they are doing is helping that other government? >> exactly. >> what are instances, examples of what that might include in a generic sense? >> oftentimes, a researcher here in the united states may think they are dealing with a peer, researcher, in a foreign government and not knowing that that researcher is either knowingly or unwittingly passing information to a foreign adversary of the united states. >> can you explain and elaborate how problems finding with what collusion is, the differences that might be involved with collusion? >> collusion is not a legal term. .t is not one i have used today i said we are investigating to see if there is any coordination.
implicit -- i would think of it as knowing or unknowing. you can do things to help a foreign nation state without realizing you're done with -- you think you're helping a buddy. what you're doing is passing information that ends up with the chinese government. would be, you know i am sending the stuff and i am doing it because i want to help the chinese government and i know he is hooked up with the chinese government. >> admiral rogers, other examples of what you have witnessed? >> sometimes a u.s. individuals will be approached by other individuals connected with foreign connections who will misrepresent. they will assume an identity. i want you to think i am ,ctually working for a business exploring a commercial interest,
create a relationship. then it turns out there is no commercial interest. they're acting in the direct interest of a foreign government . >> someone dating someone, creating a relationship and the u.s. government person takes they are in love with this person and then vice versa. the person is the agent of a foreign power. ask naive acquiescence. -- >> naive acquiescence. >> i am not sure i know what that means. >> you are going along without acknowledging -- being naive. that youo things probably cannot comment on which is of equal concern. we are very familiar with mr. testimony wherein he said he did not have contact with the russians.
he amended testimony in which he acknowledged to such testimony. the first was in july during the convention and later in september afterwards. all the while, the issues that we are talking about today, the hacking and dumping of materials were taking place in someone in the position of mr. senator sessions would have been aware of this, perhaps if we miss -- if we remember these conversations, ask the russian ambassador to knock it off. apparently none of those things happened or at least he did not remember those things happened. what we are reading now is there was a third meeting as early as april of last year and washington, dc, a meeting in which canada trump was president and the russian ambassador was
present. at some point in time, this goes -- undernd an instant the best of circumstances, oh, i forgot, so the thing. when you correct your testimony in front of the united states senate, you are still under both . you swear to the making people at you say is true. the third time as well beyond that. quite simply perjury. as we look at this as a go forward, i ask that you take that into consideration. this is for more than what we have talked about in the general sense, the russian hack or not? , a concertedthis effort in plan to lie to the american public about what to place and the motivations beyond this. i thank you for your service. i yield back to the ranking member.
>> thank you. director comey, usurped the time as a prosecutor. i am going and if you remember the instruction is read to juries every day, that if you decide that a witness deliberately lied on something significant, you should consider not believing anything that witness says. >> yes, that is familiar. >> testimony is that president trump's claim that former president obama had wiretapped him is false? >> i said we have no information that supports him. >> with respect to donald trump, do you remember the other instruction relating to truthfulness of a witness or defendant if a witness makes a false statement late into the charts crying, nor the statement was false or intending to mislead, that conduct may show he or she were aware of their guilt. >> familiar to me.
>> thank you. i want to go back to the issue of admiral rogers indicated the goal of the russians is to put a cloud on our system, to undermine our system. and i would think certainly today mr. comey with your announcement of an investigation, that the russians would be very happy with that as an outcome because the cloud of their actions and activities continues and will continue to undermine it until you're finished with whatever your investigation is currently in the scope of. i want to go back to the issue of how does one open an investigation, because, again, i'm a little confused by some of the things that we hear as to the basis of an investigation. now, mr. comey, if an individual attends a meeting with a foreign leader, is that enough to open a counterintelligence investigation? >> not more than somebody met with somebody, no. >> without more than, if they had their picture taken with a foreign leader, is that enough? >> it would depend where they
were, who took the picture. >> assume they're in, the foreign country, and in that foreign leader's government offices or facilities, if they're having a picture taken with them, is that enough to open a counterintelligence investigation? >> it would depend. >> on what? i'm saying if there is just a picture, because i can tell you certainly there are the los of -- there are lots of people who have had lots of pictures. >> it depends, did the person sneak over to the foreign country and meet them clandestinely? does the picture reveal something else about the relationship? it is hard to -- >> let's say it is not clandestine. let's say it is open. the person has attended an event that has gone over to meet with the foreign person, foreign government official, at their foreign government official facility or their official residence and has a picture taken and has no intention of covertly being present with the
foreign person, is that picture enough to open a counterintelligence investigation? >> tricky to answer hypotheticals, but my reaction is that doesn't strike me as enough. i know your next question is going to be deeper into -- >> i'm not getting deep in hypos. these are straightforward. what if you're paid to attend a conference in a foreign country, and you're paid to attend that conference not directly by the foreign government, but nonetheless payment does occur for you to attend the conference. we know bill clinton attended many such conferences and spoke and received payment. is receiving payment by attending to speak at a conference, not covert, it is open, they're tending to speak at a conference, they received payment for the purposes of speaking. is that enough to open a counterintelligence investigation? >> i can't say as i sit here.
it would depend upon a lot of different things. >> if you had no other information or evidence other than the fact that they attended, is that enough for you, for the fbi to open a counterintelligence investigation of a private u.s. citizen? >> can't answer the hypothetical, it would depend upon a number of other things. >> there would be no other things. i said only, if the only information that you had was they had attended an event in which they were paid, a conference and it was not covert, is that only sufficient information to open an investigation against a private u.s. citizen. >> who paid them, did they disclose it, what did they discuss when it was there, who else was sitting with them, there are lots of other circumstances that make that even that simple seeming hypo difficult to answer. >> let's say that they traveled to a foreign country and they
openly traveled, wasn't covert, is traveling there enough? >> just traveling around the world, no. >> ok. well, i'm very concerned about the issue of how an investigation is open, and how we end up at this situation once again where mr. klapper, -- clapper, the director of national intelligence, just said when he left there was no evidence of conclusion and yet as admiral rogers said, we're sitting now where the russians' goal is being achieved of causing a cloud, or undermining an electoral process. i hope that you take an expeditious look at what you have undertaken because it affects the heart of our democracy. mr. comey, i have a question
again, concerning classified information. now, i know that if i attend a classify briefing and i receive classified information and guyo and tell someone that classified information, leak it, release it, i've committed a crime. but what if someone goes to a classified briefing, walks out of that briefing and openly lies about the content of that briefing? it is unclear what happens then. it is important because as you know, this committee and certainly both of you gentlemen have handled a lot of classified information and recently more recently the purported classified information is put out in the press, the washington post, the new york times, reports information, and you know and i know and we all know having handled classified information that some of that information is not true. are the sources of that classified information, if they come out and lie about the content of classified information, have they committed a crime? >> it is a really interesting question. host: "washington journal." -- really interesting question. i don't think so. if all they have done is lied it
a reporter, that's not against the law. if they have done it -- i don't want to break anybody's heart with that, that is in thenot against the law. i can imagine a circumstance where it is part of some broader conspiracy or something, but that false statement to a reporter is not a crime. >> and i just want to underscore that for a second. i agree with you, i think it is no crime. and so every reporter out there that has someone standing in front of them and saying, i'm taking this great risk of sharing with you u.s. secrets besides them purporting to be a traitor, are committing no crime if they lie to them, so all of these news articles that contain this information that we know is not the case, are being done so at damage to the united states, but without the risk of a crime. and my next aspects of your question to mr. -- question to mr. comey is this, what is the obligation of the intelligence community to correct such falsehoods, some of this information that we read in the washington post and the new
york times is extremely false, and extremely incendiary, and extremely condemning of individuals and certainly our whole system. what is your obligation, mr. comey, to be that source to say i can't really -- it is classified information, but i can tell you it is not that. >> it is a great question, mr. turner. this is a whole lot out there that is false, and i suppose some of it could be people lying to reporters. i think that probably happens. but more often than not, it is people who act like they know when they really don't know. they're not the people who actually know the secrets. there are one or two hops out and they're passing on things they think they know. there is -- we had not only no obligation to correct that, we can't. if we start calling reporters, and saying, hey, this thing you said about this new aircraft we developed, that's inaccurate, actually. it has two engines. we can't do that. we give information to our adversaries that way, it is frustrating but we can't start down that road. when it is unclassified information, if a reporter misreports a content of a bill
being debated in congress, we can call and say, hey, you ought to read it more closely. we cannot do that with classified information. it is very frustrating. i read a whole lot of stuff in the last two months that is just wrong, but i can't say which is wrong and i can't say to those reporters. >> mr. comey, if you could help us on this issue, i would greatly appreciate it. what happens is you come into a classified briefing with us, and you tell us perhaps what something that is absolutely false, really shouldn't be classified because you're telling us it is not true. but yet we can't go tell it is not true because you told us in a classified setting. there is a way we can at least have some exchanges to what is not true, so the american people don't listen to false stories in the washington post and the new york times that we all know are not true, that would be helpful. >> i would love to invent that machine, but we can't. because where do you stop that -- on that slope? >> false is false. >> then when i don't call the new york times and say you got
that one wrong, bingo they got that one right, it is just an enormously complicated endeavor for us. we have to stay clear of it entirely. >> thank you. one last question. so we all read in the press that vice president pence publicly denied that general flynn discussed sanctions with russia. i'm assuming you saw those news reports. did the fbi take any action in response to the vice president's statements? >> i can't comment on that, mr. -- mr. turner. >> mr. comey, the new york times reported on february 14th, 2017, that general flynn was interviewed by fbi personnel, is that correct? >> i can't comment on that, mr. turner. >> mr. comey, i do not have any additional questions. but i thank you, both, for your participation and again i thank the chairman and the ranking member for the bipartisan aspect of this investigation. >> the gentleman yields back, dr. wenstrup is recognized. >> thank you for being here. i appreciate your endurance in this effort today. one question. how long has russia and the
soviet union been interfering or attempting to interfere with our election process? >> in the report we talked about, we have seen this kind of behavior to some degree attempting to influence outcomes for decades. >> going back to the soviet union. >> right. not to the same level necessarily, but the basic trend has been there. >> so i'm curious also about what triggers a counterintelligence investigation of a government official. and in some ways i'm asking for myself. example, last week i spoke in an event on foreign policy with atlanta council. unbeknownst to me the iraqi ambassador of the united states is there. he comes up to me afterwards, introduces himself, and says he would like to meet with me at some time. ok. this isn't a theoretical. this is real. this is why i'm asking this. will be in trouble or under investigation if i meet with him?
>> this is the slope i try to avoid going down with mr. turner, dr. wenstrup. i don't think i should be answering hypotheticals. >> it is not a hypothetical. i'm asking you in advance because i want to know if i can meet with him and be under investigation or not. i don't think that's an unrealistic question. this is real. this is right now. >> i get that. the fbi does not give advisory opinions. if you're asking about your particular case, i just can't do that. >> so you'll tell me afterwards? >> no, i'll never tell you. >> well you might. somebody might. somebody might tell the press. right. that's where i'm going next. i want to know what can i discuss? what am i allowed to discuss, what triggers the investigation, really what we're trying to get to, in general, you know, maybe not with the iraqi ambassador, but what about with the russian ambassador, or what are my obligations? do i need to advise someone that i'm meeting with them? do i have to discuss the agenda before i meet with them.
just so we're clear. this is really what it is coming down to, a lot about what we're talking about. so i don't think it is unnecessary or ridiculous for me to ask that. and so in intelligence reporting, if the identity of a u.s. official is disseminated, to those on -- on an as needed basis, does that lead to a counterintelligence investigation of that individual? in general, if a u.s. official is in this report and it is disseminated, does that lead to an investigation of the individual? >> not in general, not as a rule, no. >> ok. >> it would depend upon lots of other circumstances. >> next, to the article from february 14 in the new york times which i believe we're all familiar, and you may not be able to answer any of these, but the article cites four current and former american officials. do you know the identity of those four officials?
>> not going to comment on an article. >> well, it is not necessarily on the article, but ok, do you know for a fact that the four current and former american officials provided information for this story? >> i have to give you the same answer. >> ok. with or without an investigation going on, has anyone told you that they know who leaked the information? or who leaked any information on russian involvement in the u.s. elections or russian involvement with the trump election team? >> not going to comment on that. >> is it possible that the new york times misrepresented its sourcing for this february 14th article? possible? >> i can't comment on that. >> is it possible that the new york times was misled by individuals claiming to be current or former american officials? >> give you the same answer, dr. wenstrup. >> can i ask you why you can't
comment on that? >> yeah, i think a number of reasons. i'm not confirming that the information in that article is accurate or inaccurate. i'm not going to get in the business that we talked about earlier -- >> let me ask you this. >> there is other reasons. i'm also not going to confirm whether we're investigating things and so if i start talking about what i know about a particular article, i run the risk of stepping on both of those land mines. >> one more question before the time is up, we'll come back to me, but i'm curious, is it possible nothing to do with this article, is it possible that a so-called source to a media outlet may actually be a russian advocate. nothing to do with this story, per se, just is it possible that a russian surrogate could actually be the source that a newspaper is rely on? -- is relying on?
>> in general, sure, somebody could always be pretending to be something they're not. >> i yield back at this time. >> mr. schiff is recognized for 15 minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. a couple of questions and i'll pass it to mr. quigley for answering something into the record. >> can i ask you an estimated time. i'm not made of steel, i may have to take a quick break. >> would you like to do that now? >> if you can. i didn't know how much longer you planned to go. >> i think we want to keep going until members have asked all their questions. >> ok. just a quick rest stop? >> yes, we'll break for about ten minutes? >> that's plenty.